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Transcript of Bloody Sunday
Born in 1938 he became part of the Civil Rights Movement as a young man. He was shot and killed during a peaceful protest. His death inspired a voting rights march. Killed by James Bonard Fowler, he died defending his mother from troopers.
"Bloody Sunday" took place on March 7, 1965, and was the first of the three marches part of the Voting Rights Movement in Selma to Montgomery in Alabama, 1965.
Reverend Hosea Williams of SCLC (Southern Christian Leadership Conference) and John Lewis of SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) led the march. There was about 525-600 people marching on U.S. Highway 80 heading east out of Selma.
Edmund Pettus Bridge
The protest went without a hitch until the civil rights marchers entered Dallas County by crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge, where they were confronted by a barricade of state troopers waiting for them.
There's a new Sheriff in town...
The morning of March 7 there was an order issued by County Sheriff Jim Clark for all white males 21 years or older to report to the courthouse to be deputized.
"Laying Down the Law"
The protestors were shoved by the troopers, many being knocked to the ground and beat with nightsticks. Another group of troopers discharged tear gas and those on horses charged the demonstrators on horseback and trampled.
In the Media
Support for the Selma Voting Rights crusade was stirred when U.S. citizens and international congregations were exposed to sickening televised images of marchers left seriously wounded.
17 marchers hospitalized and 50 treated for less serious wounds in all. The day had become known as "Bloody Sunday" within the black community.
Selma to Montgomery March
After the March...
President Johnson issued a statement immediately after the march, "deploring the brutality with which a number of Negro citizens of Alabama were treated..."
The following day, members of the SNCC constructed sit-ins in Washington the next day, overran the office of Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach until they were dragged away.
The day after "Bloody Sunday", the Executive Board of the NAACP passed a judgement, warning:
"If Federal troops are not made available to protect the rights of Negroes, then the American people are faced with terrible alternatives. Like the citizens of Nazi-occupied France, Negroes must either submit to the heels of their oppressors or they must organize underground to protect themselves of the oppression of the Governor Wallace and his storm troopers".