The marchers were preparing to march from Selma, Alabama to Montgomery, Alabama which is the state capital. They were marching the 54 miles in protest to the death of Jimmie Lee Jackson and unfair voter registration practices.
When ordered to end the march by state troopers, the marchers were given three minutes, but within one and half minutes they were attacked by dogs, beaten with billy clubs, tear gas, and chased by posses.
As the marchers were being attacked the ABC television network was there to film the march not knowing that it would become violent. The ABC television network immediately stopped the present show to introduce to the country the brutality that was taking place in Selma, Alabama. This day became known as "Bloody Sunday." Back to top
While waiting for the judge's decision to march, Dr. King received word that the judge had denied the march to take place on Tuesday, and it would be Thursday before a decision would be announced.
With 1,500 people of all races waiting to march Dr. King made a decision to continue the march. As the marchers were singing "Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Round" when they reached the bottom of the Edmund Pettus Bridge once again they were met by the Alabama state troopers.
When the marchers were ordered to end the march, Dr. King and the marchers knelt down, prayed, and walked back to Brown Chapel A.M.E. Church. Dr. King made a decision to discontinue the march because he did not want violence to happen as it did on "Bloody Sunday."
Because Dr. King and the marchers turned back and marched to the church this became known as "Turnaround Tuesday." Later that evening three white ministers were attacked and beaten with a iron pipe. Rev. James Reeb was badly injured and later died from a blow to the head. The death of Rev. Reeb gained national attention. President Johnson introduced the Voting Rights Bill. Back to top
Later that day President Johnson made a speech to the nation about the "Bloody Sunday" event. Many Negroes felt that it took the death of a white minister for the President to become concerned about the movement and not the death of Jimmie Lee Jackson.
Finally, Judge Frank Johnson gave permission for the march
to take place after viewing the "Bloody Sunday" news tape.
He then ordered Governor
On Sunday, March 21, 1965, about 3,500 people with the nation watching left Brown Chapel A.M.E. Church marching and singing to the Edmund Pettus Bridge.
Among the marchers were ministers of all faith and races, leaders from every major organization, and celebrities such as Ralph Bunche and Harry Belafonte.
To protect the marchers about twelve planes and helicopters flew over the marchers. Once the marchers covered seven miles, as ordered by President Johnson only 300 were allowed to walk highway 80. The other 2,000 marchers were taken back to Selma by Alabama railways.Back to top
Dr. King delivered one of his most powerful speeches about the injustices done to the Negro people in Alabama. Listen to a portion of the speech.
After this great speech a group of 18 Negroes and 2 whites attempted to give a petition to Governor Wallace, but his executive secretary tried to accept the petition, so Rev. Joseph Lowery refuse to place it in his hands.
Around 6:00 PM the marchers were transported back to Selma by buses, trains, and cars. They were advised to leave the city of Montgomery before dark.