Bloody Sunday

Fiftieth Anniversary of Selma March. On March 7, 1965 civil rights workers in Selma, Alabama, begin a march from Selma to Montgomery to petition the state government for voting rights. The group, estimated at 600, were forcibly stopped by a massive blockade of  Alabama State troopers and police as they tried to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Many marchers were injured after being attacked by billy clubs and tear gas. The march, initiated and organized by James Bevel, became the visual symbol of the Selma Voting Rights Movement.

A second attempt on March 9th was halted to wait for protection. Alabama Governor George Wallace had refused to provide protection for the marchers.

On March 21, with 2000 members of the US Army and the Alabama National Guard provided by President Johnson, the third attempt was successful. The were able to complete the 54 mile march, which required five days of walking. On March 25, as the march gained momentum on the way, 25,000 people marched into Montgomery in support of voting rights. Governor Wallace refused to accept the petition.

On Saturday March 7, 2015, President Obama will visit the site to commemorate the anniversary of Bloody Sunday.

Recently, a campaign was started to change the name of the Edmund Pettus bridge. Pettus was not only a confederate general but also, at one time, the Grand Dragon of the Alabama Ku Klux Klan. The proponents argue that it is unfitting that such a symbol of the civil rights movement be named after a man with such a past.


Click here to sign a petition to change the name.