On March 7, 1965, police, state troopers, and a citizen “posse” violently attacked civil rights marchers attempting to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. More than 15 marchers were hospitalized for injuries suffered in an event known as “Bloody Sunday.”
 
The marchers, organized by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), were attempting to walk from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama’s capital. The Selma-to-Montgomery march was intended to draw attention to the violations of civil and voting rights in Alabama and throughout the South. 
 
Americans across the nation watched footage of peaceful protesters beaten until they were bloody, injured, and, as in the case of legendary SNCC activist John Lewis, suffered concussions. Days later, after a second attempted march (“Turnaround Tuesday”), a white minister died from injuries suffered. This media attention galvanized the Civil Rights Movement in the U.S.
 
A third march, led by Lewis, Ralph Abernathy, and Martin Luther King, Jr., reached Montgomery on March 25, 1965. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed five months later. Lewis remembers, "President [Lyndon] Johnson signed that Act, but it was written by the people of Selma."
Bloody Sunday
Noun

March 7, 1965, when police and supporters violently assaulted peaceful marchers near the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama.

Noun

city where a region's government is located.

civil rights
Plural Noun

set of fundamental freedoms guaranteed to all individuals, such as participation in the political system, ability to own property, and due process and equal protection under the law.

civil rights movement
Noun

(~1954-1968) process to establish equal rights for all people in the United States, focusing on the rights of African Americans.

concussion
Noun

injury to the brain or spinal column resulting from blunt force.

footage
Noun

moving images recorded by video or motion picture cameras.

galvanize
Verb

to stimulate into sudden, dedicated activity.

intend
Verb

to expect or aim to do something.

law enforcement
Noun

individuals or organizations that make sure people obey government rules.

media
Noun

means of mass communication, such as television or the Internet. Singular: medium.

police
Noun

local, state, or national government organization for law enforcement.

posse
Noun

group of people who help a sheriff or other official with law enforcement.

protest
noun, verb

demonstration against a policy or action.

South
Noun

loosely defined geographic region largely composed of states that supported or were sympathetic to the Confederate States of America (Confederacy) during the U.S. Civil War.

state trooper
Noun

police officer who works for a U.S. state, not a local agency or the federal government.

voting rights
Noun

issues surrounding the legal right and ability to campaign and cast a vote in political elections.