Fifty years ago, several hundred peaceful protesters marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge from Selma, Ala., to Montgomery to underscore the need for Black voting rights.
Demonstrators were brutalized and beaten by White police officers in what has become known as “Bloody Sunday.” This weekend, scores of civil rights leaders, clergy, elected officials, and peaceful demonstrators will converge on Selma to mark the 50th anniversary of the march that helped spark a movement.
U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) will be there just as he was on March 7, 1965, when he was hit on the head, left bloody and unconscious. He will be accompanied Saturday by President Barack Obama. A second march, organized by local leaders, is scheduled for Sunday.
The event comes at a time when voting rights are once again under attack in the U.S., especially after the Supreme Court gutted a key provision of the Voting Rights Act in 2013. It also comes at a time when protesters have launched an online petition to change the name of the historic bridge, which was named for Edmund Winston Pettus, a Confederate general and U.S. senator who lived in Selma after the Civil War.
“Fifty years ago this week, brave activists embarked upon the Selma to Montgomery March to bring attention to the fight for voting rights,” NAACP President and CEO Cornell William Brooks said in a statement sent to NewsOne.
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