BLACK VOICES

50 Years After ‘Bloody Sunday': Remembering The Activists Behind The Scenes

Longtime civil rights activist and voting rights marcher Reverend Frederick Reese poses at Ebenezer Baptist Church on March 5
Longtime civil rights activist and voting rights marcher Reverend Frederick Reese poses at Ebenezer Baptist Church on March 5, 2015 in Selma, Alabama. Saturday, February 7, 2015 will mark the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday where civil rights marchers attempting to walk to the Alabama capitol in Montgomery for voters' rights clashed with police on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. AFP PHOTO/BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

The name “Selma” is indelibly etched into America’s political and cultural lexicon. That’s been the case since March 7, 1965 when the country sat transfixed watching Alabama state troopers on the Edmund Pettus Bridge beat and tear-gas voting-rights demonstrators who were trying to march from Selma to Montgomery. March 7, which is now known as Bloody Sunday, marked the first of three attempts by non-violent protestors to make it to Montgomery. On March 21, under the protection of U.S. Army troops and members of the Alabama National Guard, marchers including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. finally made it. The Selma-to-Montgomery demonstration compelled President Lyndon B. Johnson to push for the passage of the Voting Rights Act, which Congress passed that August.

Read more on Colorlines

CONVERSATIONS