From Selma to Montgomery: The Marches that Inspired the Voting Rights Act of 1965

The Amistad Research Center will host a private showing of the movie Selma tomorrow which coincides with the 50th anniversary of the famous Selma to Montgomery civil rights marches that took place in 1965 to publicize the disenfranchisement of African-Americans. The film depicts the individuals and organizations that made the march successful.

Many of the march’s leaders were previously involved in securing equal voting rights for Southern Blacks. The Dallas County Voter’s League (DCVL) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) had organized voter registration campaigns in Alabama prior to the march but they were eventually joined by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in 1965. There were three marches that occurred during the Selma voting rights campaign of 1965. The first march, the one that would enter into history as Bloody Sunday, occurred on March 7, 1965 where protesters were brutally beat by Alabama state police. The incident outraged the nation and helped secure support of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 which was later signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Protesters did not complete the full Selma to Montgomery journey until the third march which lasted from March 21st until March 25th.

The Center holds photographs from the 1965 Selma to Montgomery march in the Society of St. Edmund (Selma, Alabama) Records. Many of the photos feature Martin Luther King Jr. as well as Ralph Abernathy and John Lewis.

Left to right: John Lewis, Martin Luther King Jr. and Ralph Abernathy at Selma to Montgomery March, 1965.

Left to right: John Lewis, Martin Luther King Jr., and Ralph Abernathy at the Selma to Montgomery March, 1965.

Posted by Chianta Dorsey.

Image from the Society of St. Edmund (Selma, Alabama) Records. Not to be reproduced without permission.

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