Selma to Montgomery March of 1956

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Marching for Freedom On a grey Sunday morning in March of 1965, Alabama State Troopers at the orders of Governor George Wallace advanced on a group of African-Americans leading a march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. Using bull-whips, Billy clubs and tear gas, the armed troopers made short work of the defenseless protestors, injuring 57 of them while enforcing the strict segregation of the South. The march which was supposed to start in Selma and end at the state capitol in Montgomery was organized by voting rights leaders after a civil rights activist, Jimmie Lee Jackson, had been killed during a protest. Those who organized the march included chairman of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) John Lewis and Hosea William, an assistant to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Voting rights campaign led by the SNCC had targeted Selma because it had one of the lowest ratios of African-American voters to white voters. Out of an eligible 15,000 Selmans, only 200 were registered to vote. The SNCC worked on cracking literacy tests, protesting poll taxes and staging sit-ins at registration centers in order to get blacks registered to vote. White responses a protest led by the SNCC caused the death of SNCC activist Jimmie Lee Jackson and in turn sparked the call for a protest march to Montgomery. After the first march brutally ended on “Bloody Sunday” as it came to be known, a second march was planned which would be co-led by the SNCC and Martin Luther King’s SCLC. A federal injunction allowed the march to take place without interference from the Alabama government. Between March 19th and March 23rd, 1965, thousands of voting rights activists both black and white marched the fifty miles fr... ... middle of paper ... ...king with the wind: a memoir of the movement. NY: Simon & Schuster, 1998. Nasstrom, Kathryn L. Rev. of Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement, by John Lewis and Michael D'Orso. The Journal of American History 86 (1999). Reed, Roy. “25,000 go to Alabama’s Capitol; Wallace Rebuffs Petitioners; White Rights Worker is Slain.” New York Times 25 March 1965, pp. 1, 22. Reed, Roy. “Alabama Marchers Reach Outskirts of Montgomery.” New York Times 24 March 1965, pp. 1, 27. Reed, Roy. “Alabama Police use Gas and Clubs to Rout Negroes.” New York Times 7 March 1965, pp. 1, 20. Reed, Roy. “’Bloody Sunday’ Was Year Ago; Now Selma Negroes Are Hopeful.” New York Times 5 March 1965. Reed, Roy. “Selma Arrests 350, Mostly White Visitors, Near Mayor’s Home.” New York Times 19 March 1965. Stone, Chuck. “Selma to Montgomery.” National Geographic Feb 2000: 98-108

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