DOINews: NPS: Selma's Bloody Sunday Commemorated

Last edited 09/05/2019

Crowds at the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge during the commemorative event.
A crowd of 40,000 anticipates President Obama's arrival at Selma's Bloody Sunday 50th anniversary commemoration near the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Photo by NPS. View additional photos on the park's Facebook page.

More than 40,000 people gathered at the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge next to the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail Interpretive Center this weekend to commemorate the 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday,” a watershed moment in the Civil Rights Movement.

Local, state and federal officials, including many members of Congress, former President and first lady George and Laura Bush, President and first lady Barack and Michelle Obama, and original “foot soldier” U.S. Rep. John Lewis attended a ceremony commemorating the anniversary.

On March 7, 1965, hundreds of men, women, and children attempted to march from Selma to Montgomery to protest Jim Crow laws that restricted African Americans from registering to vote. As the protestors crossed the bridge from Selma into Dallas County, they were met with a wall of state troopers and a posse organized by Dallas County Sheriff Jim Clark.

Officers ordered the participants to disperse and return to their homes or their churches. The officers and posse then beat the protestors with nightsticks and cattle prods and dispersed them with teargas.

Superintendent Sandy Taylor and site manager Barbara Tagger welcomed National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis, Southeast Regional Director Stan Austin, and Southeast Deputy Regional Director Sherri Fields as special guests for the weekend's events.

The NPS Eastern Incident Management Team has supported White House, state, and local agencies with 70 employees from 23 national park units.

For more information, photos and a video with President Obama's comments, click on the link to the White House webpage on the event here.

By: Brent Everitt, information officer, Eastern IMT, NPS

March 9, 2015

Related Links:

NPS-Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail

NPS-The Morning Report

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