The 1965 marches from Selma put a frightening and bloody face on the race issue, but it may have been the eye-opener the country needed. Today, Selma still remembers and still fights for the cause.
The Selma to Montgomery march represents the political and emotional peak of the modern day civil rights movement. Sunday, March 7th,1965 will forever be known as "Bloody Sunday." The day some 600 marchers were beaten as they set out to march over 50 miles from Selma to Montgomery to fight for the right to vote.
Unfortunately, they only got as far as the Edmond Pettus Bridge, just six blocks, when they met state and local lawmen armed with billy clubs and tear gas driving the non-violent marchers back to Selma. But they didn't give up.
WSFA 12 Photographers caught unbelievable images of Bloody Sunday on videotape and the images were broadcast across the country.
Two days later, on March 9th, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led a "symbolic" march to the bridge. Then civil rights leaders sought protection for a third-full scale march from Selma to the state capitol in Montgomery. The images from the first march sparked even more interest in the march and thousands converged on Selma to participate.
On Sunday, March 21st about 3,200 marchers started again from Selma. They walked 12 miles each day, and by the time they reached the capitol on Thursday, March 25th there were 25-thousand marchers. The march was a success, in many ways about five months later President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965.