March On Selma Emma Olson

Background Info.

During the 1950's and 1960's, less than 7% of the total African American population within Selma, Alabama were actually registered to vote. Even though the 15th amendment was passed in 1870, the amendment that banned discrimination for a man to vote regardless of skin color or race, there were still much discrimination held against those of African American ancestry that many Americans turned a blind eye at. Some of these methods included making the voters pay to have a ballot, recite the entire constitution, or even take a literacy test that was much too difficult for even the white race to pass if given to them. Fortunately though, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) lead by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. himself helped bring light to this dark situation. In early 1965 Selma, Alabama, the SCLC along with Dr. King organized a march that would last from Selma all the way to Montgomery. They hoped this peaceful protest was one of the many steps needed to be taken to finally earn true equality.

Eyes On the Prize

This march on Selma had the simple goal to finally have all African-Americans have the right to vote without having to face discrimination from whites or any other race that went against them when it came to the voting booth. The 15th amendment had already granted the vote for all men with any skin color, however it didn't outlaw the discriminatory methods used against those men; that is specifically what this march was fighting against. In short this march tried to push for the Voting Rights Act that wouldn’t be passed until the next year as well as diminish or completely eliminate the discrimination against african american voters in Selma, Alabama.

Important Involvement

Several religious groups had participated in this protest; specifically because they agreed whole-heartedly with the non-violent form of protesting as a way to get things done. Two organizations; the SCLC mentioned earlier and the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) were already in the process of organizing this march for a year or two. With the help of Martin Luther King, Jr. , that dream of theirs had finally become a reality. Along with that, smaller religious groups and members of both the black and white community linked arms with one another and worked on this march to help spread equality. Granted at the moment it was just for Selma, but the message created by this movement would be used as the poster child for equality across the nation.

The Uphill Battle

If it wasn't for the hardship all the marchers had faced while walking Selma, this march most likely wouldn't have held as much strength or impact as it does right now. It is quite easy to see that not everybody in the country, including the South, were on board with the giving of rights to people who didn't share the same mindset for African-Americans as they did. Many of the people faced police brutality as well as strong opposition from the state governor who was one of the sole reasons for barely any African-American voters. Along with that, a local Dallas County sheriff also lead a steadfast to oppose the voting registration. Despite all of this, no matter what happened to those marching, they made sure to make it to Selma despite all of the violence and hardship they had faced along the way. The violence faced during the march was broadcasted on national television with full coverage- and the blind eye many have had suddenly could start to see how serious the problem at hand was. Known also as "Bloody Sunday" the March on Selma had really become one of the big shifts in the nation.

Screenshot taken from the video tagged below- The cloud of smoke seen is from the copious amounts of pepper spray being used against the protesters.
Seen here is a sign being held by both a white and black protester. This shot is particularly important for it shows how there were many forms of integration already being shown during peaceful protest such as this one and how many had the drive to reach equality.

Peace will remember

The March on Selma was a huge step forward in American history both for those of African-American heritage as well as gaining equality for other minorities as the years go on. This march in particular has since allowed more African-Americans to enter politics and have their own say in what goes on in the government. Not only that but it has reduced the total discrimination and made unnecessary literacy tests and poll taxes illegal.

Selma and Today

Selma is one of the major Civil Rights Protests that encouraged those of other minority groups to speak up for their own God given rights that have not been granted to them out of their own form of de facto segregation occurring. Most recently, the fight to vote has been seen in members of the LGBTQA+ community. The vote being dealt with specifically was the country making the decision to let members of the LGBT community have access to marry one another. So many homosexual couples have been denied the right to marry only because many people believed they didn’t deserve it. Out of many trials and errors there was similar brutality faced from not only police officials like protesters in Selma have met years before, but as well as brutality taken from anyone nearby who was homophobic and didn't believe it was the right thing to do. The integrity, courage, and determination demonstrated by the Selma protesters helped pave way for other marches, such as the marchers in the LGBT community, to never give up despite how difficult the challenge because fighting for what is right will always outweigh living life in solitude or fear just because a "law" doesn't protect them as it should in the first place.

APA Citations

HISTORY.com (n.d.). Selma to Montgomery March - Black History - HISTORY.com. HISTORY.com. Retrieved from http://www.history.com/topics/black-history/selma-montgomery-march

HISTORY.com (n.d.). Voting Rights Act - Black History - HISTORY.com.HISTORY.com. Retrieved from http://www.history.com/topics/black-history/voting-rights-act

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