This past weekend we remembered the “Bloody Sunday” from the march from Selma to Montgomery took place 50 years ago on March 7th. The march was for voting rights for African Americans as in the South there was a general sense that they didn’t deserve the right to vote since they (the blacks) were inferior. One of the causes of the march was the murder of Jimmie Lee Jackson by an Alabama state trooper. This was the big moment which James Bevel, head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC)’s Selma voting right movement, decided that a march should take place where they would go to the Capital of Alabama and talk with the governor about the murder of Jackson. This would be a non violent outlet for the anger that people had with the murder. The Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) had some reservation about the event but allowed John Lewis even though Martin Luther King Jr was not going to be at the march.
The march got off to a great start lead by John Lewis (SNCC) and Reverend Hosea Williams (SCLC) however as soon as they left Selma crossing over the Edmund Pettus Bridge the peaceful marchers were met by state troopers and a country posse as all white males over 21 in Dallas Country were deputized that morning. The troopers began shoving and they pulled out nightstick and beat people, tear gas was used as well. It was a horrific moment in our Nation’s history and images were televised across the world that show the aftermath and images of Amelia Boynton and other left for dead on the bridge graced front pages of newspapers world wide as well.
The film Selma is about the events leading up to the march and the aftermath. There is also a graphic novel called March which features this event as well from the point of view of John Lewis. If you have time tonight Lewis will be the guest on The Daily Show to talk about the anniversary of Selma.
Has history been kind to us it seems to many that we may be exactly where we were in 1965 on the whole race relations thing. Sure there is a black man in the White House but over the past several months there has been it seems an increase of police officers shooting unarmed black youths. We’ve had some problems recently but it’s a whole lot better now then it was 50 years ago. President Obama was in Selma to mark the occasion and he gave a speech where he said that progress has been made but there is still a lot of work to do, as this struggle for harmony is ongoing and now the women, Latinos, and homosexuals have picked up this fight for equality themselves.