March 21, 1965 | The Selma To Montgomery March
On March 21, 1965, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other civil rights leaders began a march that led thousands from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. This was the third of three marches from Selma to Montgomery.
The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) had been organizing protests in the Selma, Alabama area in support of African American voting rights. In response to the death of protester and deacon Jimmy Lee Jackson, who was shot dead by an Alabama state trooper on February 17, 1965, a march was organized by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and others from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. That initial march held on March 7, 1965 is known as “Bloody Sunday”, hundreds of civil rights protesters were attacked and beaten by state and local police at the beginning of a march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.
As the marchers crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge they found their route blocked by Alabama State Troopers. When the marchers did not turn around, the world watched on television as the nonviolent protesters were beaten with billy clubs and immobilized with teargas. The video of the brutal beatings by the Alabama Troopers which left over 50 people hospitalized sent shock waves around the world as people witnessed the violent horror of racism in Alabama towards African Americans. This march led to two other marches with the final one on March 21, which received federal troop protection for the marchers. The publicity from the marches aided in the federal Voting Rights Act being passed on August 6, 1965.