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Selma to Montgomery marches
Part of the Civil Rights Movement
Bloody Sunday-Alabama police attack.jpeg
Alabama State troopers attack civil-rights demonstrators outside Selma, Alabama, on Bloody Sunday, March 7, 1965
Date March 7 – 25, 1965
Location Edmund Pettus Bridge, U.S. Route 80, Alabama State Capitol, Selma and Montgomery, Alabama
Causes

Obstruction of voter registration for African Americans
Voter registration campaign
Desire to advance War on Poverty legislation
Death of Jimmie Lee Jackson

Death of Rev. James Reeb
Goals Voting rights
Methods Strikes, Protest, Protest march, Civil disobedience
Result Voting Rights Act of 1965
Parties to the civil conflict
Lead figures

DCVL members

SCLC members

SNCC members

The three Selma to Montgomery marches in 1965 were part of the Selma Voting Rights Movement and led to the passage that year of the Voting Rights Act, a landmark federal achievement of the 1960s American Civil Rights Movement. Activists publicized the three protest marches to walk the 54-mile highway from Selma to the Alabama state capital of Montgomery as showing the desire of black American citizens to exercise their constitutional right to vote, in defiance of segregationist repression.

A voters registration campaign in Selma had been launched in 1963 by local African Americans, who formed the Dallas County Voters League (DCVL). Joined by organizers from the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), they began working that year in a renewed effort to register black voters. Most of the millions of African Americans across the South had effectively been disenfranchised since the turn of the century by a series of discriminatory requirements and practices. Finding resistance by white officials to be intractable, even after passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ending segregation, the DCVL invited Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and the activists of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to join them. SCLC brought many prominent civil rights and civic leaders to Selma in January 1965. Local and regional protests began, with 3,000 persons arrested by the end of February.

On February 26, activist and deacon Jimmie Lee Jackson died after being mortally shot several days earlier by a state trooper during a peaceful march in Marion, Alabama. The community was sorrowed and outraged. To defuse and refocus the anger, SCLC Director of Direct Action James Bevel, who was directing SCLC's Selma Voting Rights Movement, called for a march of dramatic length, from Selma to the state capital of Montgomery.[1][2] Bevel had been working on his Alabama Project for voting rights since late 1963.

The first march took place on March 7, 1965. Bevel, Amelia Boynton, and others helped organize it. The march gained the nickname "Bloody Sunday" after its 600 marchers were attacked at the Edmund Pettus Bridge after leaving Selma; state troopers and county posse attacked the unarmed marchers with billy clubs and tear gas. Boynton was one of those beaten unconscious; a picture of her lying wounded on the bridge was published and televised around the world.[3] The second march took place March 9; troopers, police, and marchers confronted each other, but when the troopers stepped aside to let them pass, King led the marchers back to the church.[4] He was seeking protection by a federal court for the march. That night, a white group beat and murdered civil rights activist James Reeb, a Unitarian Universalist[5] minister from Boston, who had come to Selma to march in the second march, which had been joined by many other clergy and sympathizers from across the country.

The violence of "Bloody Sunday" and of Reeb's death led to a national outcry and some acts of civil disobedience, targeting both the Alabama state and federal governments. The protesters demanded protection for the Selma marchers and a new federal voting rights law to enable African Americans to register and vote without harassment. President Lyndon Johnson, whose administration had been working on a voting rights law, held a televised joint session of Congress on March 15 to ask for the bill's introduction and passage.

With Governor Wallace refusing to protect the marchers, President Johnson committed to do so. The third march started March 21. Protected by 2,000 soldiers of the U.S. Army, 1,900 members of the Alabama National Guard under Federal command, and many FBI agents and Federal Marshals, the marchers averaged 10 miles (16 km) a day along U.S. Route 80, known in Alabama as the "Jefferson Davis Highway". The marchers arrived in Montgomery on March 24 and at the Alabama State Capitol on March 25.[6] With thousands having joined the campaign, 25,000 people entered the capital city that day in support of voting rights.

The route is memorialized as the Selma To Montgomery Voting Rights Trail, and is a U.S. National Historic Trail.

Selma movement established: 1963–64[edit]

At the turn of the century, the state legislature had passed a new constitution that effectively disenfranchised most blacks and many poor whites by requirements such as a poll tax and literacy test. Selma is a major town and the seat of Dallas County, part of the Alabama Black Belt with a majority-black population. In 1961, the population of Dallas County was 57% black, but of the 15,000 blacks old enough to vote, only 130 were registered (fewer than 1%). At that time, more than 80% of Dallas County blacks lived below the poverty line, most of them working as sharecroppers, farm hands, maids, janitors, and day-laborers, but there were also teachers and business owners.[7] With the literacy test administered subjectively by white registrars, even educated blacks were prevented from registering or voting.[8]

Led by the Boynton family (Amelia, Sam, and son Bruce), Rev. L.L. Anderson, J.L. Chestnut, and Marie Foster, the Dallas County Voters League (DCVL) tried to register black citizens during the late 1950s and early 1960s. Their efforts were blocked by state and local officials, the White Citizens' Council, and the Ku Klux Klan. By the 1960s, county officials and the Citizens' Council used such tactics as restricted registration hours, economic pressure, including threatening people's jobs, firing them, and economic boycotts of black-owned businesses; and violence against blacks who tried to register. The Society of Saint Edmund, an order of Catholics committed to alleviating poverty and promoting civil rights, were the only whites in Selma who openly supported the voting rights campaign.[9] SNCC staff member Don Jelinek later described this order as “the unsung heroes of the Selma March…who provided the only integrated Catholic church in Selma, and perhaps in the entire Deep South.”[10]

In early 1963, SNCC organizers Colia and Bernard Lafayette arrived in Selma to begin a voter-registration project in cooperation with the DCVL.[7] In mid-June, Bernard was beaten and almost killed by Klansmen determined to prevent blacks from voting. When the Lafayettes returned to college in the fall, SNCC organizers Prathia Hall and Worth Long carried on the work despite arrests, beatings, and death threats. When 32 black school teachers applied at the county courthouse to register as voters, they were immediately fired by the all-white school board.

After the Birmingham church bombing on September 15, 1963, which killed four black girls, black students in Selma began sit-ins at local lunch counters to protest segregation; they were physically attacked and arrested. More than 300 were arrested in two weeks of protests, including SNCC Chairman John Lewis.[11]

October 7, 1963, was one of the two days that month when residents were allowed to go to the courthouse to apply to register to vote. SNCC's James Forman and the DCVL mobilized more than 300 blacks from Dallas County to line up at the voter registration office in what was called a "Freedom Day". Supporting them were national figures, author James Baldwin and his brother David, and comedian Dick Gregory and his wife Lillian (she was later arrested for picketing with SNCC activists and local supporters). SNCC members who tried to bring water to the blacks waiting on line were arrested, as were those who held signs saying "Register to Vote." After waiting all day in the hot sun, only a handful of the hundreds in the line were allowed to fill out the voter application, and most of those applications were denied by white county officials. United States Justice Department lawyers and FBI agents were present and observing the scene, but took no action against local officials.[12]

On July 2, 1964, President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law, prohibiting segregation of public facilities. Some Jim Crow laws and customs remained in effect in Selma and other places for some time. When activists resumed efforts to integrate Selma's eating and entertainment venues, blacks who tried to attend the movie theater and eat at the hamburger stand were beaten and arrested.

On July 6, 1964, one of the two registration days that month, John Lewis led 50 black citizens to the courthouse, but County Sheriff Jim Clark arrested them all rather than allowing them to apply to vote. On July 9, 1964 Judge James Hare issued an injunction forbidding any gathering of three or more people under the sponsorship of civil rights organizations or leaders. This injunction made it illegal for more than two people at a time to talk about civil rights or voter registration in Selma, suppressing public civil rights activity there for the next six months.[13]

1965 campaign launched[edit]

Police turn around marchers on Tuesday, March 9, 1965.

Background[edit]

With civil rights activity blocked by Judge Hare's injunction, the DCVL requested the assistance of King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). Three of SCLC's main organizers – James Bevel, Director of Direct Action and Director of Nonviolent Education; Diane Nash, and James Orange, had already been working on Bevel's Alabama Voting Rights Project since late 1963. King and the executive board of SCLC had not joined it.[2][14]

When SCLC officially accepted the invitation from the local activist group, the "Courageous 8" (Ulysses S. Blackmon, Sr., Amelia Boynton, Ernest Doyle, Marie Foster, James Gildersleeve, J.D. Hunter, Sr., Dr. F.D. Reese, Sr., and Henry Shannon, Sr.) to bring their organization to Selma, Bevel, Nash, Orange, and others in SCLC began working in Selma in December 1964.[citation needed] They also worked in the surrounding counties, along with the SNCC staff who had been active there since early 1963.

Since the rejection of voting status for the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party delegates by the delegates at the 1964 Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City, major tensions between SCLC and SNCC had been brewing. SCLC ultimately remained neutral in the MFDP dispute in order to maintain its ties with the national Democratic coalition. Many SNCC members believed they were in an adversarial position with an American establishment which had scorned grassroots democracy. SNCC's focus was on bottom-up organizing, establishing deep-rooted local power bases through community organizing. They had become distrustful of SCLC's spectacular mobilizations which were designed to appeal to the national media and Washington DC, but which, most of SNCC believed, did not result in major improvements for the lives of African-Americans on the ground. But, SNCC chairman John Lewis (also an SCLC board member), believed mass mobilizations to be invaluable, and he urged the group to participate.[15] SNCC called in Fay Bellamy and Silas Norman to be full-time organizers in Selma.[16]

Selma had both moderate and hardline segregationists in its white power structure. The newly elected Mayor Smitherman was a moderate who hoped to attract Northern business investment, and he was very conscious of the city's image. Smitherman appointed veteran lawman Wilson Baker to head the city's 30-man police force. Baker believed that the most effective method of undermining civil rights protests was to de-escalate them and deny them publicity, as Police Chief Laurie Pritchett had done against the Albany Movement in Georgia.

The hardline of segregation was represented by Dallas County Sheriff Jim Clark, who used violence and repression to maintain Jim Crow. He commanded a posse of 200 deputies, some of whom were members of Ku Klux Klan chapters or the National States' Rights Party. Possemen were armed with electric cattle-prods. Some were mounted on horseback and carried long leather whips they used to lash people on foot. Clark and Chief Baker were known to spar over jurisdiction. Baker's police patrolled the city except for the block of the county courthouse, which Clark and his deputies controlled. Outside the city limits, Clark and his volunteer posse were in complete control in the county.[17]

Events of January[edit]

The Selma Voting Rights Campaign officially started on January 2, 1965, when King addressed a mass meeting in Brown Chapel in defiance of the anti-meeting injunction. The date had been chosen because Sheriff Clark was out of town, and Chief Baker had stated he would not enforce the injunction.[16] Over the following weeks, SCLC and SNCC activists expanded voter registration drives and protests in Selma and the adjacent Black Belt counties.

Preparations for mass registration commenced in early January, and with King out of town fundraising, were largely under the leadership of Diane Nash. On January 15, King called President Johnson and the two agreed to begin a major push for voting rights legislation which would assist in advancing the passage of more anti-poverty legislation.[18] King then returned, and the first big "Freedom Day" of the new campaign occurred on January 18.

According to their respective strategies, Chief Baker's police were cordial toward demonstrators, but Sheriff Clark refused to let black registrants enter the county courthouse. Clark made no arrests or assaults at this time. However, in an incident that drew national attention, Dr. King was knocked down and kicked by a leader of the National States Rights Party, who was quickly arrested by Chief Baker.[19] Baker also arrested the head of the American Nazi Party, George Lincoln Rockwell, who said he'd come to Selma to "run King out of town." [20]

Over the next week, blacks persisted in their attempts to register. Sheriff Clark responded by arresting organizers, including Amelia Boynton and Hosea Williams. Eventually 225 registrants were arrested as well, with their cases handled by the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. On January 20, President Johnson gave his inaugural address, but did not mention voting rights.[19]

Up to this point, the overwhelming majority of registrants and marchers were blue-collar workers and students. On January 22, Frederick Reese, a black schoolteacher who was also DCVL President, finally convinced his colleagues to join the campaign and register in mass. When they refused Sheriff Clark's orders to disperse at the courthouse, an ugly scene commenced. Clark's posse beat the teachers away from the door, but they rushed back only to be beaten again. The teachers retreated after three attempts, and marched to a mass meeting where they were celebrated as heroes by the black community.[21]

On January 25, U.S District Judge Daniel Thomas issued rules requiring that at least 100 people must be permitted to wait at the courthouse without being arrested. After Dr. King led marchers to the courthouse that morning, Jim Clark began to arrest all registrants in excess of 100, and corral the rest. Annie Lee Cooper, a fifty-three year old practical nurse who had been part of the Selma movement since 1963, struck Clark after he twisted her arm, and she knocked him to his knees. Four deputies seized Cooper, and photographers captured images of Clark beating her repeatedly with his club. The crowd was inflamed and some wanted to intervene against Clark, but King ordered them back as Cooper was taken away. Although Cooper had violated nonviolent discipline, the movement rallied around her.

James Bevel, speaking at a mass meeting, deplored her actions because "Then [the press] don't talk about the registration." [22] But, when asked about the incident by Jet magazine, Bevel said, “Not everybody who registers is nonviolent; not everybody who registers is supposed to be nonviolent.” [23] The incident between Clark and Cooper was a media sensation, putting the campaign on the front page of The New York Times.[24] When asked if she would do it again, Cooper told Jet, "I try to be nonviolent, but I just can't say I wouldn't do the same thing all over again if they treat me brutish like they did this time." [23]

Events of February[edit]

Dr. King decided at this point that he would make a conscious effort to get arrested. On February 1, King and Ralph Abernathy refused to cooperate with Chief Baker's traffic directions on the way to the courthouse, calculating that Baker would arrest them, putting them in the Selma city jail run by Baker's police, rather than the county jail run by Clark's deputies. Once processed, King and Abernathy refused to post bond. On the same day, SCLC and SNCC organizers took the campaign outside of Dallas County for the first time; in nearby Perry County 700 students and adults, including James Orange, were arrested.[25]

On the same day, students from Tuskegee Institute, working in cooperation with SNCC, were arrested for acts of civil disobedience in solidarity with the Selma campaign.[26] In New York and Chicago, Friends of SNCC chapters staged sit-ins at Federal buildings in support of Selma blacks, and CORE chapters in the North and West also mounted protests. Solidarity pickets began circling in front of the White House late into the night.[25]

After the assault on Dr. King by the white supremacist in January, Malcolm X had sent an open telegram to George Lincoln Rockwell stating: "if your present racist agitation against our people there in Alabama causes physical harm…you and your KKK friends will be met with maximum physical retaliation from those of us who...believe in asserting our right to self-defense-by any means necessary." [27] Fay Bellamy and Silas Norman attended a talk by Malcolm X to 3,000 students at the Tuskegee Institute, and invited him to address a mass meeting at Brown Chapel to kick off the protests on the morning of February 4.[28]

Upon Malcolm's arrival, SCLC staff initially wanted to block his talk, but he convinced them that he was not there to undermine their work.[28] During his address, Malcolm warned the protesters about “house negroes” who, he said, were a hindrance to black liberation.[29] Dr. King later said that he thought this was an attack on him,[30] but Malcolm told Coretta Scott King that he thought to aid the campaign by warning white people what “the alternative” would be if Dr. King failed in Alabama. Bellamy recalled that Malcolm told her he would begin recruiting in Alabama for his Organization of Afro-American Unity later that month (Malcolm was assassinated two weeks later).[31]

That February 4, President Lyndon Johnson made his first public statement in support of the Selma campaign. At midday, Judge Thomas, at the Justice Department’s urging, issued an injunction that suspended Alabama’s current literacy test, ordered Selma to take at least 100 applications per registration day, and guaranteed that all applications received by June 1 would be processed before July.[28] In response to Thomas’ favorable ruling, and in alarm at Malcolm X’s visit, Andrew Young, who was not in charge of the Selma movement, said he would suspend demonstrations. James Bevel, however, continued to ask people to line up at the voter's registration office as they had been doing, and Dr. King called Young from jail, telling him the demonstrations would continue. They did so the next day, and more than 500 protesters were arrested.[32][33] On February 5, King bailed himself and Abernathy out of jail. On February 6, the White House announced that it would urge Congress to enact a voting rights bill during the session, and that the Vice-President and the Attorney General would meet with King in the following week.[34]

Throughout that February, King, SCLC staff and members of Congress met for strategy sessions at the Selma, Alabama home of Richie Jean Jackson.[35][36]

In addition to actions in Selma, marches and other protests in support of voting rights were held in Perry, Wilcox, Marengo, Greene, and Hale counties. Attempts were made to organize in Lowndes County, but fear of the Klan there was so intense that blacks would not massively support a nonviolent campaign, even after Dr. King made a personal appearance on March 1.[37]

Overall more than 3000 people were arrested in protests between January 1 and February 7, but blacks achieved fewer than 100 new registered voters. In addition, hundreds of people were injured or blacklisted by employers due to their participation in the campaign. DCLV activists became increasingly wary of SCLC's protests, preferring to wait and see if Judge Thomas' ruling of February 4 would make a long-term difference. SCLC was less concerned with Dallas County's immediate registration figures, and primarily focused on creating a public crisis that would make a voting rights bill the White House's number one priority. James Bevel and C.T. Vivian both led dramatic nonviolent confrontations at the courthouse in the second week of February. Selma students organized themselves after the SCLC leaders were arrested.[38][39] King told his staff on February 10 that “to get the bill passed, we need to make a dramatic appeal through Lowndes and other counties because the people of Selma are tired.” [40]

The first Selma-to-Montgomery March: "Bloody Sunday"[edit]

Jimmie Lee Jackson's death[edit]

Main article: Jimmie Lee Jackson

On February 18, 1965, C. T. Vivian led a march to the courthouse in Marion, the county seat of Perry County to protest the arrest of James Orange. State officials had received orders to target Vivian specifically, and a line of Alabama state troopers waited for the marchers at the Perry County courthouse.[41] All of the nearby street lights were turned off, and state troopers rushed at the protesters, attacking them. One of the protesters with Vivian, Jimmie Lee Jackson, fled the scene with his mother to hide in a nearby café. Alabama State Trooper corporal James Bonard Fowler followed Jackson into the café and shot him as he tried to protect his mother. Jackson died eight days later at Selma's Good Samaritan Hospital, of an infection resulting from the gunshot wound.[42] Jackson was the only male wage-earner of his household, which lived in extreme poverty. Jackson's father, wife, and children were left with no source of income.

Initiation and goals of the march[edit]

During a public meeting at Zion United Methodist Church in Marion on February 28 James Bevel, who was directing the Selma Voting Rights Movement for SCLC, called for a march from Selma to Montgomery to talk to Governor George Wallace directly about Jackson's death, and to ask him if he had ordered the State Troopers to turn off the lights and attack the marchers. Bevel strategized that this would focus the anger and pain of the people of Marion and Selma toward a nonviolent goal, as many were so outraged they wanted to address Jackson's death with violence.[43][44] The marchers also hoped to bring attention to the continued violations of their Constitutional rights by marching to Montgomery. Dr. King agreed with Bevel's plan of the march, which they both intended to symbolize a march for full voting rights, and to ask Governor Wallace to protect black registrants.

SNCC had severe reservations about the march, especially when they heard that King would not be present.[45] They did permit John Lewis to participate, and SNCC provided logistical support, such as the use of its Wide Area Telephone Service (WATS) lines and the services of the Medical Committee on Human Rights, organized by SNCC during the Mississippi Summer Project of 1964.[46]

Governor Wallace denounced the march as a threat to public safety and declared he would take all measures necessary to prevent it from happening.

"Bloody Sunday" events[edit]

On March 7, 1965, an estimated 525 to 600 civil rights marchers headed east out of Selma on U.S. Highway 80. The march was led by John Lewis of SNCC and the Reverend Hosea Williams of SCLC, followed by Bob Mants of SNCC and Albert Turner of SCLC. The protest went according to plan until the marchers crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge and out of Selma, where they found a wall of state troopers and county posse waiting for them on the other side.

County Sheriff Jim Clark had issued an order for all white males in Dallas County over the age of twenty-one to report to the courthouse that morning to be deputized. Commanding officer John Cloud told the demonstrators to disband at once and go home. Rev. Hosea Williams tried to speak to the officer, but Cloud curtly informed him there was nothing to discuss. Seconds later, the troopers began shoving the demonstrators. Many were knocked to the ground and beaten with nightsticks. Another detachment of troopers fired tear gas, and mounted troopers charged the crowd on horseback.[47][48]

Televised images of the brutal attack presented Americans and international audiences with horrifying images of marchers left bloodied and severely injured, and roused support for the Selma Voting Rights Campaign. Amelia Boynton, who had helped organize the march as well as marching in it, was beaten unconscious. A photograph of her lying on the road of the Edmund Pettus Bridge appeared on the front page of newspapers and news magazines around the world.[3][49] Overall, seventeen marchers were hospitalized, and the day was nicknamed "Bloody Sunday".

Response to "Bloody Sunday"[edit]

After the shameful spectacle of "Bloody Sunday," President Johnson issued an immediate statement "deploring the brutality with which a number of Negro citizens of Alabama were treated..." He also promised to send a voting rights bill to Congress that week, although it took him until March 15.[50]

"Bloody Sunday" resulted in SNCC officially joining the campaign, putting aside their qualms about SCLC's tactics in order to rally for "the fundamental right of protest."[51] SNCC members independently organized sit-ins in Washington, DC the following day, occupying the office of Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach until they were dragged away.[52]

The Executive Board of the NAACP unanimously passed a resolution the day after "Bloody Sunday," warning,

“If Federal troops are not made available to protect the rights of Negroes, then the American people are faced with terrible alternatives. Like the citizens of Nazi-occupied France, Negroes must either submit to the heels of their oppressors or they must organize underground to protect themselves from the oppression of Governor Wallace and his storm troopers.”[53]

Second march: "Turnaround Tuesday"[edit]

After Bloody Sunday, Assistant Attorney General John Doar and Florida Governor LeRoy Collins, who was there representing President Lyndon Johnson, met with Martin Luther King Jr. and others at Richie Jean Jackson's house.[35][54] Bevel, King, Nash, and others then began organizing a second march to be held on Tuesday, March 9, 1965. They issued a call for clergy and citizens from across the country to join them. Awakened to issues of civil and voting rights by years of Civil Rights struggles, from the Montgomery Bus Boycott to Freedom Summer, and shocked by the television images of "Bloody Sunday," hundreds of people responded to SCLC's call.

To prevent another outbreak of violence, SCLC attempted to gain a court order that would prohibit the police from interfering. Instead of issuing the court order, Federal District Court Judge Frank Minis Johnson issued a restraining order, prohibiting the march from taking place until he could hold additional hearings later in the week.

Based on past experience, SCLC was confident that Judge Johnson would eventually lift the restraining order. They did not want to alienate one of the few southern judges who had displayed sympathy to their cause by violating his injunction. They did not yet have sufficient infrastructure in place to support a long march, one for which the marchers were ill-equipped. They knew that violating a court order could result in punishment for contempt, even if the order is later reversed.[55] But movement supporters, both local and from around the country, were determined to march on Tuesday to protest the "Bloody Sunday" violence and the systematic denial of black voting rights in Alabama. To balance these conflicting imperatives, SCLC decided to hold a partial "ceremonial" march that would cross over the bridge but halt when ordered to do so, in compliance with the injunction.

On March 9, a day that would become known as "Turnaround Tuesday",[56] Dr. King led about 2,500 marchers out on the Edmund Pettus Bridge and held a short prayer session before turning them around, thereby obeying the court order preventing them from making the full march. But only the SCLC leaders were told of this plan in advance, causing confusion and consternation among many marchers, including those who had traveled long distances to participate and put their bodies on the line in nonviolent opposition to police brutality. King asked them to remain in Selma for another march once the injunction was lifted.

That evening, three white ministers who had come for the march were attacked by four members of the KKK and beaten with clubs.[57] The worst injured was James Reeb, a white Unitarian Universalist minister from Boston. Fearing that Selma's public hospital would refuse to treat Rev. Reeb, he was taken to Birmingham's University Hospital, two hours away. Reeb died on Thursday, March 11 at University Hospital, with his wife by his side.[58]

Response to the second march[edit]

James Reeb’s death provoked mourning throughout the country, and tens of thousands held vigils in his honor. President Johnson called Reeb’s widow and father to express his condolences (he would later invoke Reeb’s memory when he delivered a draft of the Voting Rights Act to Congress).[59]

Blacks in Dallas County and the Black Belt mourned the death of Reeb as they had earlier mourned the death of Jimmie Lee Jackson. But many activists were bitter that the media and national political leaders expressed great concern over the murder of Reeb, a European-American, but had paid scant attention to that of Jackson, an African-American. SNCC organizer Stokely Carmichael argued that "the movement itself is playing into the hands of racism, because what you want as a nation is to be upset when anybody is killed [but] for it to be recognized, a white person must be killed -Well, what are you saying?"[60]

Actions in Montgomery[edit]

With the second march aborted and its organizers awaiting a judicial order to safely proceed, Tuskegee Institute students decided to open a "Second Front" of the struggle by marching to the Alabama State Capitol and delivering a petition to Governor Wallace. They were quickly joined by James Forman and much of the SNCC staff from Selma. They distrusted King more than ever after the turnaround, and were eager to find a separate course. On March 11, SNCC began a series of demonstrations in Montgomery, and put out a national call for others to join them. James Bevel, SCLC's Selma leader, followed them and discouraged their activities, bringing him and SCLC into conflict with Forman and SNCC. Bevel accused Forman of trying to divert people from the Selma campaign and of abandoning non-violent discipline. Forman accused Bevel of driving a wedge between the student movement and the local black churches. The argument was resolved only when both were arrested.[61]

On March 15 and 16, SNCC led several hundred demonstrators, including Alabama students, Northern students, and local adults, in protests near the capitol complex. The Montgomery County sheriff's posse met them on horseback and drove them back, whipping them. Against the objections of James Bevel, some protesters threw bricks and bottles at police. At a mass meeting on the night of the 16th, Forman “whipped the crowd into a frenzy” demanding that the President act to protect demonstrators, and warned, “If we can’t sit at the table of democracy, we’ll knock the fucking legs off.”[62][63]

The New York Times featured the Montgomery confrontations on the front page the next day.[64] Although Dr. King was concerned by Forman’s violent rhetoric, he joined him in leading a march of 2000 people in Montgomery to the Montgomery County courthouse. According to historian Gary May, “City officials, also worried by the violent turn of events… apologized for the assault on SNCC protesters and invited King and Forman to discuss how to handle future protests in the city.” In the negotiations, Montgomery officials agreed to stop using the county posse against protesters, and to issue march permits to blacks for the first time.[65] Governor Wallace did not negotiate, however. He continued to have state police arrest any demonstrators who ventured onto Alabama State property.[64]

Actions at the White House[edit]

On March 11, seven Selma solidarity activists sat-in at the East Wing of the White House until arrested.[66] Dozens of other protesters also tried to occupy the White House that weekend but were stopped by guards; they blocked Pennsylvania Avenue instead. On March 12, President Johnson had an unusually belligerent meeting with a group of civil rights advocates including Bishop Paul Moore, Reverend Robert Spike, and SNCC representative H. Rap Brown. Johnson complained that the White House protests were disturbing his family. The activists were unsympathetic and demanded to know why he hadn't delivered the voting rights bill to Congress yet, or sent federal troops to Alabama to protect the protesters.[67][68] In this same period, SNCC, CORE, and other groups continued to organize protests in more than eighty cities, actions that included 400 people blocking the entrances and exits of the Los Angeles Federal Building.[69]

President Johnson told the press that he refused to be "blackjacked" into action by unruly "pressure groups".[70] But, the next day he arranged a personal meeting with Governor Wallace and urged him to use the Alabama National Guard to protect marchers. He also began preparing the final draft of his voting rights bill.[50]

Johnson's decision and the Voting Rights Act[edit]

On March 15, the president convened a joint session of Congress and outlined his new bill on live television. He praised the courage of African-American activists, and called Selma "a turning point in man's unending search for freedom" on par with the Battle of Appomattox in the American Civil War. Johnson added that his entire Great Society program, not only the voting rights bill, was part of the civil rights movement. He adopted language associated with Dr. King, declaring that "it is not just Negroes, but really it is all of us, who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice. And we shall overcome."[71] His voting rights bill was formally introduced in Congress two days later.

The march to Montgomery[edit]

The 3rd Selma Civil Rights March frontline. From far left: John Lewis, an unidentified nun; Ralph Abernathy; Martin Luther King, Jr.; Ralph Bunche; Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel; Frederick Douglas Reese. Second row: Between Martin Luther King, Jr. and Ralph Bunche is Rabbi Maurice Davis. Heschel later wrote, "When I marched in Selma, my feet were praying."

A week after Reeb's death, on Wednesday March 17, federal Judge Johnson ruled in favor of the protesters, saying their First Amendment right to march in protest could not be abridged by the state of Alabama:

The law is clear that the right to petition one's government for the redress of grievances may be exercised in large groups . . . . These rights may . . . be exercised by marching, even along public highways.[72]

Judge Johnson had sympathized with the protesters for some days, but had withheld his order until he received an iron-clad commitment of enforcement from the White House. President Johnson had avoided such a commitment in sensitivity to the power of the state's rights movement, and attempted to cajole Governor Wallace into protecting the marchers himself, or at least giving the president permission to send troops. Finally, seeing that Wallace had no intention of doing either, the president gave his commitment to Judge Johnson on the morning of March 17, and the judge issued his order the same day.[73] The president federalized the Alabama National Guard on March 20.[74] He also sent one thousand military policemen and two thousand army troops to escort the march from Selma. The ground operation was supervised by Deputy US Attorney General Ramsey Clark.[75]

On Sunday, March 21, close to 8,000 people assembled at Brown Chapel to commence the trek to Montgomery.[76] Most of the participants were black, but some were white and some were Asian and Latino. Spiritual leaders of multiple races, religions, and creeds marched abreast with Dr. King, including Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, Greek Orthodox Archbishop Iakovos, Rabbis Abraham Joshua Heschel and Maurice Davis, and at least one nun, all of whom were depicted in a photo that has become famous.[57]

In 1965, the road to Montgomery was four lanes wide going east from Selma, then narrowed to two lanes through Lowndes County, and widened to four lanes again at the Montgomery county border. Under the terms of Judge Johnson's order, the march was limited to no more than 300 participants for the two days they were on the two-lane portion of Highway-80. At the end of the first day, most of the marchers returned to Selma by bus and car, leaving 300 to camp overnight and take up the journey the next day.

On March 22 and 23, 300 protesters marched through chilling rain across Lowndes County, camping at three sites in muddy fields. At the time of the march, the population of Lowndes County was 81% black and 19% white, but not a single black was registered to vote.[77] There were 2,240 whites registered to vote in Lowndes County, a figure that represented 118% of the adult white population (in many southern counties of that era it was common practice to retain white voters on the rolls after they died or moved away).

On the morning of March 24, the march crossed into Montgomery County and the highway widened again to four lanes. All day as the march approached the city, additional marchers were ferried by bus and car to join the line. By evening, several thousand marchers had reached the final campsite at the City of St. Jude, a complex on the outskirts of Montgomery.

That night on a makeshift stage, a "Stars for Freedom" rally was held, with singers Harry Belafonte, Tony Bennett, Frankie Laine, Peter, Paul and Mary, Sammy Davis, Jr., Joan Baez and Nina Simone all performing.[78] Thousands more people continued to join the march.

On Thursday, March 25, 25,000 people marched from St. Jude to the steps of the State Capitol Building where King delivered the speech How Long, Not Long. He said:

"The end we seek is a society at peace with itself, a society that can live with its conscience. ... I know you are asking today, How long will it take? I come to say to you this afternoon however difficult the moment, however frustrating the hour, it will not be long."[79]

After delivering the speech, King and the marchers approached the entrance to the capitol with a petition for Governor Wallace. A line of state troopers blocked the door. One announced that the governor was not in. Undeterred, the marchers remained at the entrance until one of Wallace's secretaries appeared and took the petition.

Later that night, Viola Liuzzo, a white mother of five from Detroit who had come to Alabama to support voting rights for blacks, was assassinated by Ku Klux Klan members while she was ferrying marchers back to Selma from Montgomery. Among the Klansmen in the car from which the shots were fired was FBI informant Gary Rowe. Afterward, the FBI's COINTELPRO operation spread false rumors that Liuzzo was a member of the Communist Party and had abandoned her children to have sexual relationships with African American activists.[80]

Response to the third march[edit]

The third march received national and international coverage; it publicized the marchers' message without harassment by police and segregation supporters. Gaining more widespread support from other civil rights organizations in the area, this march was considered an overall success, with greater influence on the public. Voter registration drives were organized in black-majority areas across the South, but it took time to get people signed up.

U.S. Representative William Louis Dickinson made two speeches to Congress on March 30 and April 27, seeking to slander the movement by making spurious charges of alcohol abuse, bribery, and widespread sexual license among the marchers. Religious leaders present at the marches denied the charges, and local and national journalists found no grounds for his accounts. The allegations of segregation supporters were collected in Robert M. Mikell's pro-segregationist book Selma (Charlotte, 1965).[81]

Hammermill boycott[edit]

During 1965, Martin Luther King was promoting an economic boycott of Alabama products to put pressure on the State to integrate schools and employment.[82] In an action under development for some time, Hammermill paper company announced the opening of a major plant in Selma, Alabama; this came during the height of violence in early 1965.[83] On February 4, 1965, the Company announced plans for construction of a $35 million plant, allegedly touting the "fine reports the company had received about the character of the community and its people." [84]

On March 26, 1965, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee called for a national boycott of Hammermill paper products, until the company reversed what SNCC described as racist policies. The SCLC joined in support of the boycott.[85] In cooperation with SCLC, student members of Oberlin College Action for Civil Rights,[86] joined with SCLC members to conduct picketing and a sit-in at Hammermill's Erie, Pennsylvania headquarters. The company called a meeting of the corporate leadership, SCLC's C.T. Vivian, and Oberlin student leadership. Their discussions led to Hammermill executives signing an agreement to support integration in Alabama.[87]

Aftermath and historical impact[edit]

Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail sign.

The marches had a powerful effect in Washington. After witnessing TV coverage of "Bloody Sunday," President Lyndon Baines Johnson met with Governor George Wallace in Washington to discuss with him the civil rights situation in his state. He tried to persuade Wallace to stop the state harassment of the protesters. Two nights later, on March 15, 1965, Johnson presented a bill to a joint session of Congress. The bill itself would later pass and become the Voting Rights Act. Johnson's speech in front of Congress was considered to be a watershed moment for the civil rights movement.

Even if we pass this bill, the battle will not be over. What happened in Selma is part of a far larger movement which reaches into every section and state of America. It is the effort of American Negroes to secure for themselves the full blessings of American life. Their cause must be our cause, too, because it is not just Negroes but really it is all of us who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice. And we shall overcome.[88][89]:278[90]

Many in the Civil Rights movement cheered the speech and were emotionally moved that after so long, and so hard a struggle, a President was finally willing to defend voting rights for blacks. According to SCLC activist C.T. Vivian, who was with King at Richie Jean Jackson's home when the speech was broadcast,

...I looked over... and Martin was very quietly sitting in the chair, and a tear ran down his cheek. It was a victory like none other. It was an affirmation of the movement.[88][91]

Many others in the movement remained skeptical of the White House, believing that Johnson was culpable for having allowed such violence to be visited on the movement in the early months of the campaign and not a reliable supporter. Neither Jimmie Lee Jackson’s murderer, nor Reverend Reeb’s was ever prosecuted by the federal government.[92][93] J.L. Chestnut, reflecting the view of many Selma activists, feared that the president had “outfoxed” and “co-opted” King and the SCLC, while James Forman quipped that by quoting “We Shall Overcome,” Johnson had simply “spoiled a good song.” [94] Such grassroots activists were more determined than ever to remain independent in their political organizing. Before the march to Montgomery concluded, SNCC staffers Stokely Carmichael and Cleveland Sellers committed themselves to registering voters in Lowndes County for the next year. This would result in the creation of the Lowndes County Freedom Organization, a proto-typical black power organization.[95][96]

The bill became law at an August 6 ceremony attended by Amelia Boynton and many other civil rights leaders and activists. This act prohibited most of the unfair practices used to prevent blacks from registering to vote, and provided for federal registrars to go to Alabama and other states with a history of voting-related discrimination to ensure that the law was implemented.

In the early years of the Act, overall progress was slow, with local registrars continuing to use their power to deny African-Americans voting access. In most Alabama counties, for example, registration continued to be limited to two days per month.[97] The United States Civil Rights Commission acknowledged that "The Attorney General moved slowly in exercising his authority to designate counties for examiners...he acted only in counties where he had ample evidence to support the belief that there would be intentional and flagrant violation of the Act." [98] Dr. King demanded that federal registrars be sent to every county covered by the Act, but Attorney General Katzenbach refused.[99]

In the summer of 1965, a well-funded SCLC decided to join SNCC and CORE in massive on-the-ground voter registration programs. The Civil Rights Commission noted this as a major contributor to expanding black voters in 1965, and the Justice Department itself acknowledged leaning considerably on the work of "local organizations" in the movement to implement the Act.[98] SCLC and SNCC were temporarily able to mend past differences through collaboration in the Summer Community Organization & Political Education project. Ultimately, their coalition foundered on SCLC’s commitment to nonviolence and (at the time) the Democratic Party.[100]

Most activists were convinced that President Johnson still sought to appease Southern whites, and some historians support this view.[101][102] In November 1966, Katzenbach told Johnson regarding Alabama, that “I am attempting to do the least I can do safely without upsetting the civil rights groups.” Katzenbach did concentrate examiners and observers in Selma for the "high-visibility" election between Sheriff Jim Clark and Wilson Baker,[103] and with more than 7,000 blacks added to the voting rolls there, Clark was voted out of office in 1966. He later served a prison sentence for drug smuggling.[104] The US Civil Rights Commission also noted that the continuing unpunished assassinations of activists, such as Jonathan Daniels, were a major impediment to registrations.[98] Overall, the Justice Department assigned registrars to only six of Alabama's 24 Black Belt counties during the 1960s and to less than one-fifth of all the Southern counties covered by the Act.[105] Expansion of enforcement grew gradually, and the jurisdiction of the Act itself grew through a series of amendments beginning in 1970.

In 1960, there were just 53,336 black voters in the state of Alabama; three decades later, there were 537,285,[106] a tenfold increase.

In 1996, the 54-mile Selma-to-Montgomery National Historic Trail was established, preserved by the National Park Service.[107] As part of the National Historic Trail, the National Park Service operates two interpretive centers (Selma and Lownes County) and is planning to operate a Montgomery center that will be located on the campus of Alabama State University.

Revitalization[edit]

Currently the Montgomery portion of the trail is undergoing a multi-million dollar transformation in order to enhance the trail and surrounding neighborhoods. Projects include inflill development, resurfacing, pedestrian improvements, environmental improvements include new trees and green-screens, drainage improvements, and the installation of several permanent public art displys that are tied to the march. The work is based on a plan and study funded by the EPA through a Greening Americas Capitols Grant that got feedback from neighborhood residents and nationally acclaimed urban planners.

Media based on the marches[edit]

Eyes on the Prize, a 14-hour PBS documentary narrated by Julian Bond, premiered in 1987. The sixth episode, Bridge to Freedom centers on the Selma to Montgomery marches. The series and its producer won six Emmies, the Peabody Award, and the duPont-Columbia Gold Baton award for excellence in journalism, and was nominated for an Academy award.[108]

Selma, Lord, Selma, the first dramatic feature film based on events surrounding the Selma to Montgomery marches, is a Disney production first broadcast on January 17, 1999 by ABC television.[109] Critical reception varied. The Philadelphia Tribune praised the portrayal of Martin Luther King, Jr. by Clifton Powell and the "…heart-wrenching performance" by Jurnee Smollett.[110] The Boston Globe used harsh words: "…never rises above the level of a Classic Comics version of civil rights history.",[111] while The Rocky Mountain News was less judgmental: "(Selma) …offers a sense of authenticity…".[112]

Selma, an American film, received a limited theatrical release on December 25, 2014, followed by wide release January 9, 2015. It features events and personalities surrounding the Selma to Montgomery marches and the creation of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

March is a three-part graphic novel autobiography published by Top Shelf Productions about John Lewis, that begins with his and fellow civil rights activists' beating and gassing at the hands of Alabama state troopers on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Written by Lewis and his congressional aide, Andrew Aydin, and illustrated by Nate Powell, the first book in series was published in August 2013.[113]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Randall Kryn, "James L. Bevel The Strategist of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement," In David Garrow's 1989 book We Shall Overcome, Volume II, New York: Carlson Publishing Company, 1989
  2. ^ a b Randy Kryn, "Movement Revision Research Summary Regarding James Bevel", October 2005, Middlebury College
  3. ^ a b Sheila Jackson Hardy; P. Stephen Hardy (August 11, 2008). Extraordinary People of the Civil Rights Movement. Paw Prints. p. 264. ISBN 978-1-4395-2357-5. Retrieved March 6, 2011. 
  4. ^ Branch, Taylor (2013). The King Years: Historic Moments in the Civil Rights Movement. Simon & Schuster. 
  5. ^ http://uudb.org/articles/jamesjosephreeb.html
  6. ^ Davis, Townsend (1998). Weary Feet, Rested Souls. W.W. Norton. 
  7. ^ a b "Selma — Breaking the Grip of Fear" ~ Civil Rights Movement Veterans
  8. ^ Are You "Qualified" to Vote? The Alabama "Literacy Test" ~ Civil Rights Movement Veterans
  9. ^ "Edmundite Southern Missions", Encyclopedia of Alabama
  10. ^ Don Jelinek, “Oral History/Interview, 2005-Selma Underground: Fathers of St. Edmund”, Civil Rights Movement Veterans website
  11. ^ "Freedom Day in Selma" ~ Civil Rights Movement Veterans
  12. ^ Zinn, Howard (1965). SNCC The New Abolitionists. Beacon Press. 
  13. ^ "The Selma Injunction", ~ Civil Rights Movement Veterans.
  14. ^ Randall Kryn, "James L. Bevel The Strategist of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement," In David Garrow, We Shall Overcome, Volume II, New York: Carlson Publishing Company, 1989
  15. ^ "1965-SCLC and SNCC" Civil Rights Movement Veterans website
  16. ^ a b "1965-Breaking the Selma Injunction", Civil Right Movement Veterans Timeline]
  17. ^ "1965-Selma on the Eve", Civil Rights Movement Veterans History and Timeline
  18. ^ Johnson Conversation with Martin Luther King on Jan 15, 1965 (WH6501.04), Miller Center of Public Affairs, Accessed January 17, 2015
  19. ^ a b "1965-Marching to the Courthouse" Civil Rights Movement Veterans History and Timeline
  20. ^ United Press International "King Struck, Kicked During Racial Drive", Chicago Tribune, 19 January 1965
  21. ^ "1965-Teachers March" Civil Rights Movement Veterans History and Timeline
  22. ^ "1965-Annie Cooper and Sheriff Clark" Civil Rights Movement Veterans History and Timeline
  23. ^ a b Jet, February 11, 1965
  24. ^ David Garrow, Protest at Selma (Yale University Press, 1978), p. 45
  25. ^ a b "1965-Letter from a Selma Jail", Civil Rights Movement Veterans History and Timeline
  26. ^ "The Alabama Struggle" SNCC pamphlet
  27. ^ Christopher Strain, Pure Fire:Self-Defense as Activism in the Civil Rights Era (University of Georgia Press, 2005), pp. 92-93
  28. ^ a b c Taylor Branch, Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years 1963-1965 (Simon and Shuster, 1999), p. 578-579
  29. ^ video of speech on YouTube
  30. ^ Clayborne Carson "The Unfinished Dialogue of Martin Luther King Jr. Malcolm X" Souls 7 (1): 12–19, 2005
  31. ^ Alvin Adams "Malcolm 'seemed sincere'", Jet, Mar 11, 1965
  32. ^ Taylor Branch, Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years 1963-1965 (Simon and Shuster, 1999), p. 580-581
  33. ^ "1965-Bound in Jail", Civil Rights Movement Veterans History and Timeline
  34. ^ Gary May, Bending Towards Justice: The Voting Rights Act and the Transformation of American Democracy (Basic Books, 2013) p. 69
  35. ^ a b "SULLIVAN & RICHIE JEAN JACKSON HOUSE ADDED TO THE NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES". Alabama Historical Commission. 
  36. ^ "Congressional Record 113th Congress (2013-2014)". November 13, 2013. 
  37. ^ "1965-Cracking Lowndes" Civil Rights Movement Veterans website
  38. ^ "1965-Bound in Jail; Clubs and Cattleprods; Holding on and Pushing Forward"], Civil Rights Movement Veterans History and Timeline
  39. ^ David Garrow, Protest at Selma (Yale University Press, 1978), p. 58
  40. ^ David J. Garrow, Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King Jr and Southern Christian Leadership Conference (Jonathan Cape, 1988), p. 389
  41. ^ Halberstam, David. The Children, Random House, 1998, p. 502.
  42. ^ Fleming, John (March 6, 2005). "The Death of Jimmie Lee Jackson". The Anniston Star. 
  43. ^ Kryn in Garrow, 1989
  44. ^ Kryn, 2005
  45. ^ "1965-Tensions Escalate" Civil Rights Movement Veterans History and Timeline
  46. ^ "Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in Alabama (SNCC)", Encyclopedia of Alabama
  47. ^ "The Cost", We Shall Overcome: Historic Places of the Civil Rights Movement, National Park Service
  48. ^ Gary May, Bending Toward Justice: The Voting Rights Act and the Transformation of American Democracy (Basic Books, 2013)
  49. ^ "The wire photo of her left for dead on Edmund Pettus Bridge, which went around the world on the news that night, helped spark the outpouring of support for the civil rights movement...", Schiller Institute
  50. ^ a b Robert Dallek, Flawed Giant: Lyndon Johnson and His Times, 1961-1973 (Oxford University Press, 1998), pp.215-217
  51. ^ Taylor Branch, At Canaan's Edge: America in the King Years 1965-1968 (Simon and Shuster, 2006), p. 73
  52. ^ Taylor Branch, At Canaan's Edge: America in the King Years 1965-1968 (Simon and Shuster, 2006), p. 59-65
  53. ^ “Selma Outrage Condemned”, The Crisis, Vol. 72, No. 4, April 1965
  54. ^ "Selma to Montgomery: Crossing a Bridge Into History - Alabama Road Trips - Alabama.Travel". Alabama's Official Travel Guide. 
  55. ^ See Walker v. City of Birmingham, 388 U.S. 307 1967, citing Howat v. Kansas, 258 U.S. 181 (1922).
  56. ^ "Martin Luther King and the Global Freedom Struggle". Stanford University: The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute. Retrieved October 16, 2012. 
  57. ^ a b The March to Montgomery ~ Civil Rights Movement Veterans
  58. ^ "James Reeb". Jim Crow Museum, Ferris State University. 2012. Retrieved 2015-01-16. 
  59. ^ "James Reeb" King Encyclopedia
  60. ^ "Bridge to Freedom, Eyes on the Prize episode, PBS website
  61. ^ "1965-Students March in Montgomery; Confrontation at Dexter Church", Civil Rights Movement Veterans History and Timeline
  62. ^ Gary May, Bending Toward Justice: The Voting Rights Act and the Transformation of American Democracy (Basic Books, 2013) p. 107, 126
  63. ^ "1965-Protests and Police Violence Continue in Montgomery; Brutal Attack in Montgomery", Civil Rights Movement Veterans History and Timeline
  64. ^ a b "1965-Wednesday, March 17", Civil Rights Movement Veterans History and Timeline
  65. ^ >Gary May, Bending Toward Justice: The Voting Rights Act and the Transformation of American Democracy, (New York: Basic Books, 2013) p. 129
  66. ^ "The President's Daily Diary: March 11, 1965" LBJ Library and Museum
  67. ^ Ekwueme Michael Thelwell, "H. Rap Brown/ Jamil Al-Amin: A Profoundly American Story", The Nation, 28 February 2002
  68. ^ Branch, At Canaan's Edge, p. 93
  69. ^ Gary May, Bending Toward Justice: The Voting Rights Act and the Transformation of American Democracy, (Basic Books, 2013), p. 94
  70. ^ Robert Young, "Johnson won't be 'blackjacked into force by pressure groups'", Chicago Tribune, 13 March 1965
  71. ^ "President Lyndon B. Johnson's Special Message to the Congress: The American Promise, March 15, 1965", [As delivered in person before a joint session at 9:02 p.m.]"]
  72. ^ Williams v. Wallace, 240 F. Supp. 100, 106 (M.D. Ala. 1960).
  73. ^ Gary May, Bending Toward Justice: The Voting Rights Act and the Transformation of American Democracy (Basic Books, 2013) pp. 127-128
  74. ^ Robert Dallek, Flawed Giant: Lyndon Johnson and His Times, 1961-1973 (Oxford University Press, 1998), p.218
  75. ^ Gary May, Bending Toward Justice: The Voting Rights Act and the Transformation of American Democracy (Basic Books, 2013) p. 130
  76. ^ Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail – National Park Service
  77. ^ Cobb, Charles E. (2008). On the Road to Freedom. Algonquin Books. 
  78. ^ Tankersley, Mike (March 25, 2012). "City of St. Jude is just wild about Harry". Montgomery Advertiser. Retrieved June 11, 2013. 
  79. ^ Selma to Montgomery March – King Research & Education Center at Stanford University
  80. ^ Mary Stanton, FROM SELMA TO SORROW: The Life and Death of Viola Liuzzo, University of Georgia Press, 2000
  81. ^ Jane Daily, "Sex, Segregation, and the Sacred after Brown", The Journal of American History, 91.1. Note: Mikkel's book was published with a colorized cover photograph showing splotches of blood drawn on an image of Viola Liuzzo's car.
  82. ^ Fredrick, Stand Up for Alabama, page 126
  83. ^ "Selma to be Southern Operations Base"
  84. ^ Student Voice
  85. ^ Jet, 27 May 1965.
  86. ^ The Activist Consensus
  87. ^ The Best Known Name in Paper, Hammermill, Pennsylvania State University
  88. ^ a b Weinstein, Allen (2002). The Story of America: Freedom and Crisis from Settlement to Superpower. DK Publishing, Inc. 
  89. ^ Williams, Juan (2002). Eyes on the Prize: America's Civil Rights Years, 1954-1965. Penguin Books. ISBN 0140096531. 
  90. ^ Wicker, Tom (15 March 1965). "Johnson Urges Congress at Joint Session to Pass Law Insuring Negro Vote". New York Times. Retrieved 3 August 2013. 
  91. ^ Tambay A. Obenson (4 June 2014). "Niecy Nash Signs Up To Play Richie Jean Jackson In Ava Du - Shadow and Act". Shadow and Act. 
  92. ^ "1965-President Johnson: We Shall Overcome" Civil Rights Movement Veterans History and Timeline
  93. ^ "FBI investigating '65 killing of pro-civil rights minister" The Grio
  94. ^ Gary May, Bending Toward Justice, p. 125
  95. ^ "Stokely Carmichael" King Encyclopedia
  96. ^ "Eyes on the Prize II: Interview with Cleveland Sellers" Washington University Digital Gateway
  97. ^ "1965-SCOPE Voter Registration" Civil Rights Movement Veterans History and Timeline
  98. ^ a b c "Voting Rights Act:the first months." United States Commission on Civil Rights. Washington, DC. 1965. CR1.2:V94/2
  99. ^ "1965-SCOPE Voter Registration" Civil Rights Movement Veterans History and Timeline
  100. ^ "1965-SCLC/SCOPE and SNCC" Civil Rights Movement Veterans History and Timeline
  101. ^ "1965-SCOPE" Civil Rights Movement Veterans History and Timeline
  102. ^ Hanes Walton Jr, Sherman Puckett, and Donald R Deskins, The African American Electorate: A Statistical History (CQ Press, 2012) p. 624-628
  103. ^ Taylor Branch, At Canaan's Edge, p. 461
  104. ^ Rawls, Phillip (June 6, 2007). "Ala. Ex-Sheriff Dies; Civil Rights Foe". The Washington Post. Associated Press. 
  105. ^ "1965-SCOPE Voter Registration" Civil Rights Movement Veterans History and Timeline
  106. ^ Selma-to-Montgomery 1965 Voting Rights March – Alabama Department of Archives & History
  107. ^ http://www.nps.gov/semo/historyculture/index.htm
  108. ^ "Eyes on the Prize". The American Experience. PBS. August 23, 2006. Retrieved 6 June 2014. 
  109. ^ "'Selma, Lord, Selma' airs Jan. 17: The horror and legacy of Bloody Sunday brought to life". Pittsburg New Courier (Pittsburgh, PA). December 30, 1998.   – via HighBeam (subscription required)
  110. ^ "Selma, Lord, Selma: Disney remembers King; Movie tracks struggle for voting rights". The Philadelphia Tribune (Philadelphia, PA). January 15, 1999.   – via HighBeam (subscription required)
  111. ^ Koch, John (January 16, 1999). "`Selma' tale oversimplifies rights drama". The Boston Globe (Boston, MA).   – via HighBeam (subscription required)
  112. ^ Saunders, Dusty (January 17, 1999). "Areas of Beleagured Wonderful Disney". Rocky Mountain News (Denver, CO).   – via HighBeam (subscription required)
  113. ^ Cavna, Michael (August 12, 2013). "In the graphic novel 'March,' Rep. John Lewis renders a powerful civil rights memoir". The Washington Post. Retrieved 25 October 2013. 

External links[edit]


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Prince Albert Daily Herald
Fri, 09 Jan 2015 17:41:15 -0800

In August, 2013, the Daily Herald caught up with Torbert to discuss his experience as a firsthand witness to Martin Luther King Jr.'s “I Have a Dream” speech. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery Marches -- a historic event ...

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AL.com
Tue, 20 Jan 2015 07:00:00 -0800

FILE PHOTO 1965 Selma to Montgomery March. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd March 29, 1965, at the concluding event of the Capitol march. A huge crowd massed in front of the state building for the demonstration. (Spider Martin\The ...

Dailyuw

Dailyuw
Mon, 05 Jan 2015 22:22:30 -0800

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the three Selma to Montgomery marches of 1965, which culminated in the passage of the Voting Rights Act in the same year. Alongside the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act worked to outlaw ...

Eurweb.com

Eurweb.com
Sat, 17 Jan 2015 17:30:00 -0800

... Rights anthems (“We Shall Overcome”) to traditional gospel (“When The Saints Go Marching In”), The Staple Singers introduced their own original material, including the just-composed “Freedom Highway,” inspired by the Selma to Montgomery marches.

NPR (blog)

NPR (blog)
Sun, 11 Jan 2015 09:26:15 -0800

It's a half-hour until showtime in Selma, Ala., and the majority of the auditorium seats are already taken. Paramount Pictures is offering free screenings of Selma, the film depicting the 1965 Selma-to-Montgomery marches which led to the passage of the ...

New York Times (blog)

New York Times (blog)
Wed, 07 Jan 2015 11:41:23 -0800

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Ahwatukee Foothills News

Ahwatukee Foothills News
Fri, 30 Jan 2015 10:24:46 -0800

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Florida Courier

Florida Courier
Thu, 29 Jan 2015 07:45:00 -0800

It comes on the 50th anniversary of the three Selma to Montgomery marches and the signing of the federal Voting Rights Act into law. It comes during this week's 30th anniversary celebration of Martin Luther King Day as a national holiday. It comes on ...
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