SELMA: 50 Years Later
At podium: Harry Belfonte, Folk Trio Peter, Paul and Mary
To the left of the podium: Bayard Rustin, A. Phillip Randolph, John Lewis, Coretta Scott King
Location: Alabama State Capitol, Montgomery, AL (March 25,1965)
Photo Credit: Ray Ariatti | Photo Courtesy: Walter Naegle
On March 7, 2015, President Obama lead the nation and world in commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday in Selma, Alabama. The horrific events of “Bloody Sunday” and the courageous movement work of countless individuals risking and giving their lives propelled the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, prohibiting racial discrimination in voting. This legislative victory in the Civil Rights Movement was a vital part of progress that increased the participation of Black voters in American elections and the number of Black elected officials on all levels of government.
Bayard Rustin and James Baldwin participate in Selma to Montgomery March Activities in 1965
Photo Credit: © Stephen Somerstein
“I know you are asking today, ‘How long will it take?’ Somebody’s asking, ‘How long will prejudice blind the visions of men, darken their understanding, and drive bright-eyed wisdom from her sacred throne?’ Somebody’s asking, ‘When will wounded justice, lying prostrate on the streets of Selma and Birmingham and communities all over the South, be lifted from this dust of shame to reign supreme among the children of men?’ Somebody’s asking, ‘When will the radiant star of hope be plunged against the nocturnal bosom of this lonely night plucked from weary souls with chains of fear and the manacles of death? How long will justice be crucified, and truth bear it?’ I come to say to you this afternoon, however difficult the moment, however frustrating the hour, it will not be long, because ‘truth crushed to earth will rise again.’ How long? Not long, because ‘no lie can live forever.'”
– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
March 25, 1965
Alabama State Capitol (Montgomery, AL)