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World House Podcast: Episode 16 - Selma, Alabama, and the 1965 Voting Rights Campaign

Oct 8 2020
The demands for political representation and voting rights for African Americans continued to grow and became once again sharply visible during the Voting Rights Campaign in Selma, Alabama. In January 1965, the Dallas County Voters League invited Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) to join the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and other local African American activists. The campaign was marked by repeated marches to voter registration offices and escalating clashes between demonstrators and police, leading to mass arrests by the end of February. The most horrific event was the murder of Jimmy Lee Jackson on the night of 18 February 1965 by an Alabama state trooper.
In this episode Clay Carson and Mira Foster discuss the events, including three marches, that shaped the 1965 Voting Rights Campaign in Selma. The first march took place on Sunday, 7 March, and was led by Hosea Williams and SNCC leader John Lewis. It ended with a brutal confrontation on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, where the armed law enforcement attacked the peaceful marchers. The march and the violent events of that day became known as Bloody Sunday. The second march took place on March 9. Once again, policemen and marchers confronted each other at the bridge. However, King, this time present at the march, decided to turn around and lead the marchers back to Brown Chapel Church in Selma. The third and final march began on 21 March. This time the activists were protected by hundreds of federalized Alabama National Guardsmen.  After four days, on 25 March, 25,000 demonstrators arrived in Montgomery, where Martin Luther King Jr., delivered his historic Address at the Conclusion of the Selma to Montgomery March.
On 6 August, in the presence of Martin Luther King, Jr., and other civil rights leaders, President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
*** Visit our Gallery to follow the historic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, through the photography of Stephen Somerstein, an eyewitness to the critical civil rights events of March 1965. ***
Episode photo: SELMA TO MONTGOMERY MARCH Day 5 The Abernathy Children, Ralph David Abernathy, Juanita Jones Abernathy, and John Lewis lead the lineup and beginning of the March. 1965
Sources: File URL


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Clayborne Carson, Liberation Curriculum