Groups agree on plans for 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday

Groups agree on plans for 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday

SELMA, AL (WSFA) - Conflict over President Obama's participation in the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday has come to an end.

Civil rights leaders have put the controversy to rest and reveal what's planned for the historic weekend.

Several groups involved with planning the upcoming commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday have released a schedule of more than 40 events.

Ten civil rights organizations have united to commemorate the anniversary of Bloody Sunday, the Selma-to-Montgomery marches and the Passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

President Barack Obama announced he will visit Selma for the anniversary on Saturday, March 7. Some event organizers urged the president to change his plans and instead visit on Sunday, which is the day of the week the anniversary is traditionally celebrated. There were concerns that a commemorative march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge would be held Saturday because of the president's visit.

According to a joint statement from the various groups, one march will take place on Sunday, March 8.

State Senator Hank Sanders and his wife have been involved in organizing the annual march for more than 40 years..

"The most important thing for me is that the sacredness of Bloody Sunday has been preserved because there will not be other marches on Saturday in Selma. There will not be other marches in Montgomery on Sunday and that was very very important to me because each of those things would compromise the sacredness of Bloody Sunday march," he said. "We will not have but one march. the president will still speak on Saturday."

The success of the movie "Selma" along with President Obama's visit and all of the events planned for the big weekend continue to put the city in the spotlight and that's giving the historic town a boost many feel it needs.

"When i pass through Selma, I see a lot of the businesses have disappeared due to bigger cities and stuff like that but I think the movie and the 50th anniversary with the president coming are helping boost the economy," said Selma native Emmanuel Reese. "I think this has been a great thing for the city of Selma as far as the image and as far as the unity to bring people together at one time and to be an example for the world to see where Selma has come from 50 years ago to what it is now. And also to being more revenue to the city to bring about change."

"When you run into people, there's a lifting of spirit and it's important because when people have lifted spirits, they do good things,' Sanders added. "That's why the 50th is so important because it's lifting spirits. This is a once in a lifetime event."

Events include:

  • An address by the President of the United States Barack Obama on Saturday March 7, 2015, the actual anniversary day of Bloody Sunday;
  • The Fruits of the Labor Luncheon on Saturday March 7, 2015, honoring Secretary Julian Castro, Rep. Barbara Lee, Rep. Maxine Waters, Gov. Deval Patrick, Mayor Richard Hatcher, Mayor Charles Evers;
  • The Living Legends Dialogue on Saturday, March 7, 2015, will feature Diane Nash, Bob Moses, Claudette Colvin, Dr. Bernard Lafayette and the youth leaders of the Black Lives Matter Movement;
  • All day Saturday March 7, 2015, there will be music, story telling and a street festival with national known artist, the freedom singers and Paul from Peter Paul and Mary;
  • The organizations in the unified committee will sponsor one march, the sacred Bloody Sunday re-enactment march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge on Sunday March 8,2015

The unified committee includes the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), the Bridge Crossing Jubilee, Inc., The Faith and Politics Institute, the National Voting Rights Museum and Institute, Wallace Community College Selma, 21st Century Youth Leadership Movement, The City of Selma, Rep. Terri Sewell, Rep. John Lewis, National Action Network, Rainbow/PUSH.

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