BACKGROUND INFORMATION: Although, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 forbade discrimination in voting on the basis of race, black voters were still not able to register. In early 1965, Martin Luther King Jr.’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) made Selma, Alabama, the focus of its efforts to register black voters in the South. On February 18, white segregationists attacked a group of peaceful demonstrators. During chaos, an Alabama state trooper fatally shot Jimmie Lee Jackson, a young African-American demonstrator. In response to Jackson’s death, King and the SCLC planned a massive protest march from Selma to the state capitol of Montgomery.
WHEN&WHERE: SELMA, MONTGOMERY 1965- 3 separate marches(7th of March, 9th of March; both were quickly shut down) 3rd and final march: 21-25 of March with the help of National Guards.
Overcoming Obstacles: Protesters attempting to march from Selma to the capital of Montgomery were met with violent resistance from local authorities. Brutal scenes were captured on television; thus, enraging Americans and drawing civil rights leaders to Selma. Their first attempt March 7: Protesters set out, but did not get far before being met with Alabama state troopers wielding whips, nightsticks and tear gas--- beating them back to Selma. King himself led another attempt on March 9, but turned the marchers around when state troopers again blocked the road. That night, a group of segregationists beat another protester, the young white minister James Reeb, to death.
PROGRESSION: State officials led by Wallace wanted to prevent the march from going forward, but a U.S district court ordered them they permit it. Lyndon B. Johnson also backed the marchers, even going on national television to pledge his support.Federalized Alabama National Guardsmen and FBI agents were on hand to provide safe passage for the march. Some 2,000 people set out from Selma on March 21, protected by U.S. Army troops and Alabama National Guard forces that Johnson had ordered under federal control. After walking some 12 hours a day and sleeping in fields along the way, they reached Montgomery on March 25.
LASTING EFFECTS: The March on Selma allows us to reflect on the struggles that happened then and ones present today. Later, in 1965 the Voting Rights Act was passed--- which guaranteed the right to vote. This greatly reduced the difference between black and white voters in the U.S. Also, it allowed greater numbers of African Americans to enter political life at all levels.
JUSTICE FOR TRAYVON MARTIN: In 2012, Trayvon Martin(unarmed) was fatally shot by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer. #BlackLivesMatter was created in 2012 after Trayvon Martin’s murderer, George Zimmerman, was acquitted for his crime. The incident caused outrage throughout the country for months, and led to the conversation or U.S. race relations.
Events like the arrest of a 43-year-old man named Eric Garner, who was placed in a chokeholdby a white police officer on the sidewalk of Staten Island, New York, in July 2014. Garner can be heard on mobile phone video footage saying, “I can’t breathe." In turn, the video became viral and became a common phrase for protestors.