Alabama is the birthplace of leaders with dreams. It’s the place where thousands of leaders came together to march for the paramount victory in the fight for equality–the right to vote.
Today, those dreams march on. Walk in the footsteps of the brave men and women who fought for equal rights and experience the emotion and courage of the Civil Rights Movement. In 2015, we invite you to celebrate the many dreams that started here by visiting Selma, Lowndes County and Montgomery as we mark the 50th Anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights March.
© Unauthorized use and⁄or duplication of the official 50th logo without express and written permission from the City of Montgomery is strictly prohibited.
On March 7, Reverend Hosea Williams and John Lewis stepped from the pulpit of Brown Chapel Church and led a group of 600 toward Montgomery. After just six blocks, when they crossed the now infamous Edmund Pettus Bridge over the Alabama River, Sheriff Jimmy Clark’s deputies and state troopers dispatched by Gov. Wallace attacked the group with nightsticks and tear gas, injuring dozens. The violence stopped the marchers’ first attempt, but they would not be silenced or stopped for good.
Two weeks later, under the protection of Alabama National Guardsmen and Army troops, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. set off again from Selma and marched along U.S. Hwy. 80 to the capital city.
The March continues. Civil Rights in and around Selma provide moving examples of what ordinary people can do. Visit our historic city and follow in the footsteps of individuals who shaped some of the most pivotal moments in America’s history.
Brown Chapel AME Church
March 7, 1965, Blocking the way
Bloody Sunday Violence
Along the way the marchers camped at three separate sites, including the historic “Tent City,” which stood at the halfway point. The next day, the marchers continued their journey to Montgomery. Near the site, Viola Luizzo, a white mother of five, from Detroit, was assassinated on the night of March 25, 1965 by Ku Klux Klan members. She had traveled to Alabama to support the voting rights movement by ferrying marchers back and forth from Selma to Montgomery throughout the protest.
Today, the journey continues. Follow in the path of those courageous men and women who marched for freedom. Visit the Lowndes County Interpretive Center, strategically placed near the historic “Tent City,” and explore first-hand the marchers’ incredible journey.
Proving a simple act can transform the world, Rosa Parks’ display of quiet courage sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott giving impetus to the Civil Rights Movement and making Montgomery the epicenter of a groundbreaking societal shift that would change our entire nation for the better. The struggle reached its positive resolution when, in 1965, following a brutal attack that stopped a prior march, marchers led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. set off from Selma and marched along U.S. Hwy. 80 to the capital city. They covered the 54 miles between Selma and Montgomery in four days, wrapping up their journey with the Stars of Freedom rally at the City of St. Jude. The crowd then gathered without incident in front of the Alabama State Capitol and by that time was 25,000 strong. Not long after, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law.
Today, that dream continues. Welcome to Montgomery, The Capital of Dreams, where yesterday’s lessons combined with today’s progress and our plans for tomorrow continue to inspire dreams and make them realities.
The Marchers are Cheered
National Guard on Dexter