MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Civil Rights leader Jesse Jackson is in Montgomery speaking on the meaning of the Selma to Montgomery march.
The images from the original attempt at the march, known now as 'Bloody Sunday' sparked a nation to push for equal voting rights and helped pass the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Jackson says those rights are now in danger as the U.S. Supreme Court has invalidated key parts of the act.
"Selma began the protected right to vote," Jackson said, but added, "each time the states' rights forces that we defeated have sought to undermine our right to vote with schemes of the gerrymandering, annexation at large, stacking and packing. Sections 4 and 5 were always there to protect our right to vote and our influence. But with Shelby removing Section 4, protection the court took away their infrastructure."
He believes that while Selma is "in the rear view mirror" and is cause for celebrating, "Shelby is in the windshield and is a cause for protest." Shelby is in reference to Shelby County vs. Holder, the case the U.S. Supreme Court used to strip away some of the Voting Rights Act. Jackson likened it to the high court "[taking] away our key and [leaving] us with the car."
Jackson says while voting rights were given 50 years ago, the opportunity for an equal economic opportunities were not. "The South's chief beneficiaries of auto, athletics, high tech, banks, universities all remain with the oppressive majority who have imposed tyranny on the minority," Jackson laments.
Jackson believes there will be people marching to celebrate Selma who are "wolves in sheep's clothing" whom he says believe in and support the Shelby v. Holder ruling.
"We continue our quest for equal opportunity, equal protection under the law and fair participation in every phase of American life," Jackson says.