Marches Graham Tyson

Selma to Montgomery marches

Six hundred marchers assembled in Selma on Sunday, March 7, and, led by John Lewis and other SNCC and SCLC activists, crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge over the Alabama River en route to Montgomery. Just short of the bridge, they found their way blocked by Alabama State troopers and local police who ordered them to turn around.

Selma to Montgomery marches

The first march took place on March 7, 1965, organized locally by Bevel, Amelia Boynton, and others. State troopers and county possemen attacked the unarmed marchers with billy clubs and tear gas after they passed over the county line, and the event became known as Bloody Sunday.

Selma to Montgomery marches

The second march took place March 9. Troopers, police, and marchers confronted each other at the county end of the bridge, but when the troopers stepped aside to let them pass, King led the marchers back to the church.

Selma to Montgomery marches

That night, a white group beat and murdered civil rights activist James Reeb, a Unitarian Universalist minister from Boston, who had come to Selma to march with the second group.[10] Many other clergy and sympathizers from across the country also gathered for the second march.

Selma to Montgomery marches

The violence of the "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.

Selma to Montgomery marches

President Lyndon Johnson, whose administration had been working on a voting rights law, held a historic, nationally televised joint session of Congress on March 15 to ask for the bill's introduction and passage.

Selma to Montgomery marches

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".

Selma to Montgomery marches

The marchers arrived in Montgomery on March 24 and at the Alabama State Capitol on March 25.[11] With thousands having joined the campaign, 25,000 people entered the capital city that day in support of voting rights.

Selma to Montgomery marches

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

Selma to Montgomery marches

In this famous picture here, you can see the thousands of non-violent protester crossing Edmund Pettus Bridge.

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