Posted by: Kirsten | Sunday, 24 February 2008

Selma to Montgomery: Never Lose Sight of Freedom

From the NPS website…

The Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail was established by Congress in 1996, to commemorate the events, people, and route of the 1965 Voting Rights March in Alabama. The 54-mile trail follows the historic voting rights march by beginning at the Brown Chapel A.M.E. Church in Selma, and crossing the Edmond Pettus Bridge. On March 7, 1965, as non-violent marchers crossed the bridge, they were tear-gassed, beaten, and their processional stopped by law enforcement officers. This display of violence, heaped upon non-violent protesters was captured by the news media and broadcasted worldwide. This event came to be known as “Bloody Sunday.” Outraged protesters from across the country joined the marchers for a subsequent five-day march that began in Selma on March 21, 1965, this time with state and federal law enforcement protection.

The marchers traveled along U.S. Highway 80 in Dallas County, continued through Lowndes County and Montgomery County, and ended the five day trek at the Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery. The Southern Christian leadership Conference (SCLC) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) organized the logistics for the march—providing food, water, sanitation, and other services for the marchers, who camped out along the way. Twenty-five thousand marchers concluded the historic march in Montgomery on March 25th with many notable speakers who addressed the crowd at a concluding rally near the capitol building. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered one of his most notable speeches at the rally. As a result of this historic event, the Voting Rights Act was passed on May 26, 1965.

 

A multimedia overview of these events is available on the NPS website for Selma to Montgomery Nat’l Historic Trail at http://www.nps.gov/archive/semo/freedom/.  In it you’ll also find an Edukit with a number of lesson plans on Change, Civil Disobedience, Courage, Perserverance, Nonviolence, Marching for Freedom, and Justice.

 

Parke Diem!
— Jon

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