50 years ago this weekend (March 7, 1965), at the foot of the Edmund Pettis Bridge in Selma, Alabama, 600 civil rights activists attempted to execute a peaceful march from Selma to the Alabama state capital of Montgomery. This march was to be a public, but peaceful show of defiance against the segregationist repression that violated black American citizens and their right to vote. However, after leaving Selma no one could have ever imagined the scene that would happen next. Alabama state troopers and county law enforcement together attacked the unarmed marchers with Billy clubs and tear gas. Men, women, elderly were voraciously beaten and attacked until they were pushed back to the other side of the bridge. To this day one of the most publicized media photos of Bloody Sunday is that of Amelia Boynton lying unconscious in the street from the attack. The offense was considered so violent that the event was earned the nickname “Bloody Sunday.”
As a believer in Christ and an advocate/activist of sorts, I have an abiding call to justice and a healthy respect for overlooked watershed moments. These are the events, the words, or the actions that are critical to a movement but are not as visibly recognized outside of the insider circles. Bloody Sunday was such. As the years have passed that dreadful day has been washed out or in some circles blended in to such a degree that its significance has been hard to find. However, Selma proved the metal of the civil rights movement. Selma put the violence response to the movement on national television. Selma publically showed the Jewish community a committed ally with the Black community -they were not just willing to fund her, but to willing suffer with her. Selma invited the nation into the nightmare black Americans were experiencing. Selma ultimately helped tip the White House to finally craft the bill that would later pass and become the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Selma cannot be lost or forgotten in our quest for equal freedoms, for I fear that lovers of justice will again be tested in future generations. The lessons of Selma are on your side.
Note from me: this is not my usual blog style blog and I will get back to all the motivational/inspirational stuff next month- but when RESPECT is deserved, it should be given. I pause to respect the movement, the Selma Marches and the participants in particular and its 50 years of significance.
If you want to learn more: Oprah Winfrey’s Selma, a depiction of the Selma events was an awesome and a fantastic cinematic piece to enjoy. However, equally as moving is the award-winning documentary Eyes on The Prize. This is a 14 hour documentary has more time to lay out the context and significance and history of civil rights events. Hint: episode six is wholly dedicated to the Selma marches and Bloody Sunday. God bless!
Wake Up Ur Dream