While I lived through the times of the Civil Rights Movement, it wasn’t until today that I gained a better understanding of the struggles involved in securing the right to vote for all citizens.
I furthered my education today at the Lowndes Interpretive Center that is located at the site of the second campsite for the folks participating in the famous Selma to Montgomery Right to Vote March for five days in March of 1965.
Hundreds of people made the 54 mile march to freedom along route 80. I, of course, knew about the march, but didn’t appreciate its true significance until today.
What a time in history it was. A march had been tried two weeks earlier which resulted in “Bloody Sunday”. As the 600 marchers reached the apex of the Edmund Pettus Bridge leaving Selma, they encountered scores of Alabama State Troopers outfitted with gas masks and Billy clubs. The troopers attacked the non-violent marchers, and beat them bloody. It took President Lyndon Johnson’s calling in of Federal troops to allow the march to occur on March 21-25. 1965.
This march brought the plight of the struggle to register to vote for Black Americans to the attention of Alabama, the Nation, and to the World. I am in awe of the bravery of these citizens.
One of the results of this march was the 1965 Voting Rights Act signed by the President in August.
One of the awful results of this march was the fact that landowners in Alabama evicted the black sharecroppers that registered to vote from their homes. The evicted black farmers and their families lived in tent cities for up to two years before they could find work or get their own land. The people living in tent city were harassed during that time and local whites would drive into the camp and shoot at them. How horrid for those people to have to live like that in this country.
It was a very sobering morning for me to visit the Interpretive Center, but I would recommend it anyone interested in understanding better one of those historic times that made the 60’s so eventful in my opinion.
Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later, Judy