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History > 20th century > USA > Civil rights era > Selma Marches    Alabama    March 1965

Bloody Sunday - March 7, 1965


































Protesters on one of 1965’s Selma to Montgomery voting rights marches.


Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo


How civil rights activists risked their lives to change America in 'freedom summer'

G        Friday 1 July 2016    12.58 BST        Last modified on Friday 1 July 2016    16.55 BST















Timeline: The Selma-to-Montgomery marches






of the Student Nonviolent

Coordinating Committee

come to Selma

and begin staging protests.





Oct. 7, 1963


In what would be

known as "Freedom Day,"

about 350 blacks line up to register

to vote at the Dallas County Courthouse.


Registrars go as slowly as possible

and take a two-hour lunch break.


Few manage to register,

most of those are denied,

but the protest is considered

a huge victory by civil rights




July 9, 1964


Dallas County Circuit Court

Judge James Hare

issues an injunction effectively

forbidding gatherings

of three or more people to discuss

civil rights or voter registration

in Selma.



Dec. 28, 1964


Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

presents the SCLC plan,

the "Project for an Alabama

Political Freedom Movement,"

a plan conceived by James Bevel

that calls for mass action

and voter registration attempts

in Selma and Dallas County.



Jan. 2, 1965


King begins his Selma campaign

when about 700 African Americans

show up for a meeting at Brown Chapel

in defiance of the injunction.



Jan. 18, 1965


Black civil rights advocates

meet at Brown Chapel.


Following speeches and prayers,

King and John Lewis

ead 300 marchers out of the church.


Selma Police Chief Wilson Baker

allows them to march in small groups

to the courthouse to register

despite Hare's injunction,

but Sheriff Jim Clark has them line up

in an alley beside the courthouse,

where they are out of sight,

and leaves them there.


None is registered.



Jan. 19, 1965


Protesters return

to the courthouse to register

and demand to remain

at the front of the building.


Clark arrests them,

including Hosea Williams of the SCLC,

Lewis of the SNCC and Amelia Boynton.



Jan. 22, 1965


Since local teachers can be fired,

few have taken overt roles

in the civil rights movement,

but Margaret Moore and the Rev. F.D. Reese,

who is also a teacher at Hudson High,

organize the unprecedented teachers' march.


Almost every black teacher in Selma

— 110 of them — marches to register to vote.


Clark and his deputies

push them down the courthouse

stairs three times,

but they are not arrested.



Jan. 25, 1965


King leads another march

of about 250 people

to the courthouse.


When Clark painfully twists

the arm of Annie Lee Cooper, 54,

and shoves her,

she slugs him — twice.



Feb. 1, 1965


King and Ralph Abernathy lead a protest

and refuse to break into smaller groups.


Both are arrested

and placed in the Selma jail,

and refuse to be bonded out.



Feb. 4, 1965


One day after addressing students

at Tuskegee Institute,

Malcolm X speaks

to a crowd at Brown Chapel,

carefully avoiding speaking

about his previous differences

with King concerning non-violence.



Feb. 4, 1965


President Lyndon Johnson

makes his first public statement

supporting the Selma campaign.




Feb. 6, 1965


President Johnson says

he will urge Congress

to enact a voting rights bill

during the session.




February 1965


Gov. George C. Wallace

bans nighttime demonstrations

in Selma and Marion,

and assigns 75 troopers to enforce it.




Feb. 18, 1965


State troopers

attack marchers during a protest in Marion.

State trooper James Bonard Fowler

shoots and kills Jimmie Lee Jackson,

a 26-year-old deacon of the St. James Baptist Church.

Fowler was charged with murder in 2007.


He pleaded guilty

to second-degree manslaughter in 2010,

when he was 67, saying he thought Jackson

had been reaching for a weapon.


He was sentenced to six months,

but was released after five

because of failing health.




March 5, 1965


King flies to Washington to speak

with President Johnson

about the Voting Rights Bill.


Then announces the plan for a massive march

from Selma to Montgomery.




March 6, 1965


Alabama whites, calling themselves

the Concerned White Citizens of Alabama,

come to Selma to march in support of black rights.


Klan members have followed them

into town to protest their march,

and the demonstration breaks up

as it is clear violence is about to break out.





March 7, 1965


In what would become known as "Bloody Sunday,"

John Lewis and Hosea Williams lead about 600 people

on what is intended to be a march

from Selma to Montgomery.


But Alabama state troopers, some on horseback,

and Clark and his deputies meet the marchers

at the Edmund Pettus Bridge.


When the marchers refuse to disperse,

they are driven back with billy clubs and tear gas,

with 16 being hospitalized and at least 50 others injured.


The national coverage of the event galvanizes the country,

and King calls for volunteers from throughout the nation

to come to Selma for another march on March 9.




March 8, 1965


Fred Gray and the SCLC file

Hosea Williams v George Wallace

before U.S. District Judge

Frank M. Johnson Jr. in Montgomery,

asking the court to prevent state troopers

from blocking the march.


Wallace representatives argue that the march

should be blocked because it would block roadways,

interfering with state commerce and transportation

and be a threat to public safety.


Johnson, concerned about the safety of the marchers,

says the march should be put off until the court

can hold a formal hearing and make a decision.





March 9, 1965


Martin Luther King Jr.

leads another march

to the Edmund Pettus Bridge.


About 2,000 people,

more than half of them white

and about a third members of the clergy,

participate in the second march.


King leads the march to the bridge,

then tells the protesters to disperse.


The march becomes known

as Turnaround Tuesday.




March 9, 1965


James Reeb,

a Unitarian Universalist minister

who had come from Boston

and marched in the protest earlier in the day,

is beaten severely by KKK members.

He dies of head injuries two days later at the age of 38.





March 11, 1965


Upset with the way

the SCLC is handling things in Selma,

James Forman and much of the SNCC staff move

to Montgomery and begin a series of demonstrations.


The group also asks for students

from across the country to join them.


Tuskegee Institute students come to Montgomery

in an attempt to deliver a petition to Wallace.





March 13, 1965


President Johnson meets with Wallace to decry

the brutality surrounding the protests

and asks him to mobilize

the Alabama National Guard

to protect demonstrators.





March 14, 1965


SNCC staff members

lead 400 Alabama State University students,

joined by a group of white students from across the country,

on a march from the ASU campus to the Capitol.


Although Montgomery police

react peacefully to the march,

as the students approach the Capitol,

state troopers, the sheriff's office and a posse

it has deputized attack the marchers.


Photos of the violence

make national headlines.





March 15, 1965


President Johnson addresses Congress

in support of a Voting Rights Bill,

quoting the famous civil rights cry

"We shall overcome."





March 17, 1965


Federal District Court Judge

Frank M. Johnson Jr.

rules in favor of the marchers

after receiving a Justice Department plan

outlining their protection during the march.





March 17, 1965


Despite the arguments

between the SCLC and the SNCC,

King joins Forman

in leading a march of 2000 people

in Montgomery to the Montgomery County courthouse.


After the march, King announces

the third Selma-to-Montgomery march.


City of Montgomery officials

apologize for the assault on SNCC protesters

by county and state law enforcement

and ask King and Formanto work with them

on how best to deal with future protests in the city;

student leaders promise they will seek

permits for future protest marches.


But Wallace continues to arrest protestors

who venture on to state-controlled property.





March 18, 1965


Wallace blasts Judge Johnson's ruling,

saying the state cannot afford to provide the security

the marchers need and that he will ask

the federal government for help.





March 19, 1965


Wallace sends a telegram to President Johnson

asking for help in providing security for the march.





March 20, 1965


President Johnson issues

an executive order authorizing

the federal use

of the Alabama National Guard

to supply protection.


He also sends 1,000 military policemen

and 2,000 Army troops

to escort the march from Selma.





March 21, 1965


About 8,000 people

assemble at Brown Chapel

before starting the five-day march

to Montgomery's Capitol.





March 24, 1965


Marchers rest at the City of St. Jude,

a Catholic church and school complex

on the outskirts of Montgomery,

where Harry Belafonte, Tony Bennett, Joan Baez,

Sammy Davis Jr., Nina Simone,

Frankie Laine and Peter,

Paul and Mary perform

at a "Stars for Freedom" rally.






March 25, 1965


During the Selma-to-Montgomery march,

about 25,000 demonstrators join the marchers

when they reach Montgomery

for a final rally at the state Capitol.


King delivers his famous

"How Long, Not Long" speech.





March 25, 1965


That night, Viola Liuzzo,

a white mother of five

who had driven from Detroit

to help protest for black civil rights,

is shot and killed by Ku Klux Klansmen

as she drives toward Montgomery

to pick up a carload of marchers.


She was 39.





August 6, 1965


President Johnson

signs the Voting Rights Act into law.























Mr. Martin, the youngest photographer at The Birmingham News,

was one of the few photographers on the ground

in Selma on March 7, 1965, known as Bloody Sunday,

when state troopers violently beat back peaceful marchers

at the Edmund Pettus Bridge.


Here is the moment before the confrontation.


James “Spider” Martin Archive/Briscoe Center, University of Texas at Austin


Spider Martin’s Photographs of the Selma March Get a Broader View

By JENNIFER SCHUESSLER        NYT        FEB. 15, 2015

















Mr. Martin’s photographs

distilled the chaos of the march into a series of dramas between individuals,

as in this widely reproduced shot of John Lewis,

one of the leaders of the march, being beaten by state troopers.


James “Spider” Martin Archive/Briscoe Center, University of Texas at Austin


Spider Martin’s Photographs of the Selma March Get a Broader View

By JENNIFER SCHUESSLER        NYT        FEB. 15, 2015

















The civil rights leader Andrew Young later said

that it was largely because of Mr. Martin’s images,

like this shot of the organizer Amelia Boynton

being lifted to her feet after being beaten unconscious,

“that we, as a people and a nation, so vividly remember Bloody Sunday.”


James “Spider” Martin Archive/Briscoe Center, University of Texas at Austin


Spider Martin’s Photographs of the Selma March Get a Broader View

By JENNIFER SCHUESSLER        NYT        FEB. 15, 2015



Watching 'Selma' with 103-year-old matriarch of the movement

By Moni Basu, CNN        Updated 0428 GMT (1228 HKT) January 10, 2015

















People watching as marchers arrived in Montgomery, Ala. 1965.


Morton Broffman


Complicating the Picture of Urban Life

By Maurice Berger        NYT        Lens        Feb. 23, 2015

















Youths celebrating their completion of the march to Montgomery.


James H. Barker/Steven Kasher Gallery


Documenting Selma, From the Inside

By Maurice Berger NYT        Lens        Mar. 2, 2015















Obama Speaks on 50th Anniversary of Selma | The New York Times        8 March 2015





Obama Speaks on 50th Anniversary of Selma | The New York Times        8 March 2015


President Obama addressed a crowd of thousands

on the 50th anniversary of the "Bloody Sunday" civil rights demonstrations

in Selma, Alabama.


Produced by: AP

Read the story here: http://nyti.ms/1BZQNNP

Watch more videos at: http://nytimes.com/video


YouTube > NYT
















A Call From Selma | Op-Docs | The New York Times        7 March 2015





A Call From Selma | Op-Docs | The New York Times        7 March 2015


This short documentary explores

how the murder of a white minister in Selma, Ala.,

helped catalyze the civil rights movement.


Produced by: Andrew Beck Grace

Read the story here: http://nyti.ms/1GqJNL3

Watch more videos at: http://nytimes.com/video


YouTube > NYT















Gay Talese on the Legacy of Selma | The New York Times        8 March 2015





Gay Talese on the Legacy of Selma | The New York Times        8 March 2015


Gay Talese reflects on how events in Selma, Alabama, fifty years ago

(March 7, 2015, marks the 50th anniversary of "Bloody Sunday,"

a turning point in the civil rights movement)

affected race relations in the United States.


Produced by: Colin Archdeacon and Natalia V. Osipova

Read the story here: http://nyti.ms/1GePGHB

Watch more videos at: http://nytimes.com/video


YouTube > NYT


















Bloody Sunday veterans in Selma, Alabama, 50 years on – video

G        Monday 9 March 2015        11.19 GMT














Amelia Boynton Robinson        1911-2015




Mrs. Boynton Robinson with a fellow marcher in 1965

after being knocked unconscious by Alabama troopers at the bridge.


Pictorial Parade/Archive Photos/Getty Images


Amelia Boynton Robinson, a Pivotal Figure at the Selma March, Dies at 104

By MARGALIT FOX        NYT        AUG. 26, 2015

















[ on 'Bloody Sunday", March 7 1965 ]

the sight of Amelia Robinson (above)

being hit during a demonstration in Selma

shocked the nation.


Sheriff Jim Clark’s hated volunteer posse

was reported to have clubbed protesters during the day.


Photograph: Topfoto/AP


The Guardian        p. 43        9.6.2007











Born in Savannah, Ga., Boynton Robinson

was a pioneer in the voting rights movement

who took part in the event that came

to be known as "Bloody Sunday,"

when she and other activists were attacked

by state troopers as they tried

to march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge.




















James Bonard Fowler        1933-2015


Jimmie Lee Jackson,

a 26-year-old laborer and church deacon,

was shot to death in Mack’s Cafe in Marion, Ala.,

on the night of Feb. 18, 1965,

and the killing proved historic:


It provoked the fateful voting-rights march

from Selma to Montgomery, turning the tide

for the civil rights movement.


For more than four decades, though,

the crime itself was largely ignored.


Justice for Mr. Jackson was deferred,

largely because of what distinguished his case

from those of other black Americans killed

at the hands of Southern whites back then.


In his case, the suspect was not only white

but also a law-enforcement officer.


It was not until March 6, 2005,

in an interview with The Anniston Star,

that the officer, Bonard Fowler,

by then a former Alabama state trooper,

acknowledged publicly

that he had fired the shot

that felled Mr. Jackson.


He insisted

that he had acted in self-defense.


Two years later, a grand jury

convened by Alabama’s

only black district attorney

indicted Mr. Fowler

on charges of murder.


He pleaded guilty

to misdemeanor manslaughter,

apologized and served five months in jail.




















Viola Gregg Liuzzo        1925 - March 25, 1965


(...)  Mrs. Liuzzo, a 39-year-old wife

of a Detroit teamsters official and mother of four,

who had come to Alabama to help

in the Selma-to-Montgomery civil rights march

in the spring of 1965.


On March 25, the day after the procession,

as she drove a young black volunteer home,

she was shot to death on a desolate stretch of road.





















On 25 March 1965, Martin Luther King

led thousands of nonviolent demonstrators

to the steps of the capitol in Montgomery, Alabama,

after a 5-day, 54-mile march from Selma, Alabama,

where local African Americans,

the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)

and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC)

had been campaigning for voting rights.


King told the assembled crowd:

‘‘There never was a moment in American history

more honorable and more inspiring

than the pilgrimage of clergymen and laymen

of every race and faith pouring into Selma

to face danger at the side of its embattled Negroes’’

(King, ‘‘Address at the Conclusion

of the Selma to Montgomery March,’’ 121).





















James Reeb        1927 - March 11, 1965


American Unitarian Universalist minister, pastor

and civil rights activist in Washington, D.C.

and Boston, Massachusetts.


While participating

in the Selma Voting Rights Movement actions

in Selma, Alabama, in 1965,

he was murdered by white segregationists,

dying of head injuries in the hospital

two days after being severely beaten.




















March from Selma to Montgomery        "Bloody Sunday"        7 March 1965


In 1965,

at the height of the modern civil rights movement,

activists organized a march for voting rights,

from Selma, Alabama, to Montgomery, the state capital.


On March 7,

some 600 people assembled at a downtown church,

knelt briefly in prayer, and began walking silently,

two-by-two through the city streets.


With Hosea Williams

of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC)

leading the demonstration, and John Lewis, Chairman

of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC),

at his side, the marchers were stopped

as they were leaving Selma,

at the end of the Edmund Pettus Bridge,

by some 150 Alabama state troopers,

sheriff ’s deputies, and possemen,

who ordered the demonstrators to disperse.


One minute and five seconds

after a two-minute warning was announced,

the troops advanced, wielding clubs,

bullwhips, and tear gas.


John Lewis, who suffered a skull fracture,

was one of fifty-eight people treated for injuries

at the local hospital.


The day is remembered in history

as “Bloody Sunday.”






peaceful protesters

seeking voting rights for disenfranchised blacks

tried to march from Selma to Montgomery, the Alabama capital,

but were mercilessly clubbed and tear-gassed

by white men with badges.


That state-sanctioned violence

on March 7, 1965 — Bloody Sunday —

sickened the nation.


More marches followed,

ultimately under the protection of federal troops,

and that summer, Congress passed a Voting Rights Act

to sweep away practices that had long deprived blacks

of equal partnership in the American democracy.


















































James Gardner Clark Jr, police officer        1922-2007


US sheriff who used violence

against civil rights protesters



















Civil rights activist Jimmy Lee Jackson (1938-1965)        February 1965


On the night of 18 February 1965,

an Alabama state trooper shot

Jimmie Lee Jackson in the stomach

as he tried to protect his mother

from being beaten at Mack’s Café.


Jackson, along with several other African Americans,

had taken refuge there from troopers breaking up a night march

protesting the arrest of James Orange, a field secretary

for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC)

in Marion, Alabama.


Jackson died from his wound

eight days later.


Speaking at his funeral,

King called Jackson,

“a martyred hero of a holy crusade

for freedom and human dignity”

(King, 3 March 1965).





















Related > Anglonautes > History


Lyndon Baines Johnson    1908-1973

36th President of the United States    1963-1969



USA > 20th century > 1940s-1970s > Civil rights era



USA > 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th century

Slavery, Racism, Civil war, Abraham Lincoln



USA > 18th / 19th century



USA > 19th century > Emancipation Proclamation - 1863



United Kingdom > Slavery






Related > Anglonautes > Vocapedia


slavery, eugenics,

race relations, racism, civil rights,







Anglonautes > Arts > Photography


photographers > 20th century > USA > Grey Villet (1927-2000)


photographers > 20th century > USA > James "Spider" Martin (1939-2003)








Documenting Selma, From the Inside


A timely new show

at the Steven Kasher Gallery in New York,

“Selma March 1965,”

reminds us that not all civil rights photographs were created equal.

Commemorating the 50th anniversary this month

of the historic Selma-to-Montgomery marches,

the exhibition features the work

of three documentarians of the protests:

James Barker, Spider Martin and Charles Moore.

By Maurice Berger        NYT        Mar. 2, 2015






Freedom Journey 1965:

Selma to Montgomery March in pictures

G    Wednesday 17 December 2014