Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail

The 1965 Voting Rights March in Alabama focused national attention on the issue of African-American civil rights.

The 54-mile journey began on March 7, at the Brown Chapel A.M.E. Church in Selma. Nearly 600 protestors participated. As they crossed Edmond Pettus Bridge, the marchers were attacked by Alabama state troopers and a mob of angry whites.

Dubbed “Bloody Sunday,” the brutal attack was captured by news cameras. The image of nonviolent marchers being beaten by police officers raised support for the civil rights cause. A second five-day march set for March 21 drew 25,000 participants.

The second march ended with a rally at the Alabama state capitol on March 25. Many notable civil rights leaders, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., spoke eloquently about the need for federal civil rights legislation.

Later that year, Congress passed and President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

The Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail traces the historic route of the march along U.S. Highway 80. The Lowndes County Interpretive Center at midpoint provides information and maps of historic sites along the trail.

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