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Biden Pays Tribute to Civil Rights Activists Whose Blood Was Shed in Selma on 'Bloody Sunday'


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President Biden paid tribute to a watershed moment in the Civil Rights movement Sunday. He joined a crowd of marchers in Selma, Alabama, to cross the Edmund Pettis Bridge.

On March 7, 1965 – what's now known as "bloody Sunday" – police assaulted Civil Rights demonstrators as they tried to cross the bridge. 

They were on their way to the Capitol to demand voting rights, led by Civil Rights leader John Lewis and fellow activist Hosea Williams. The historic flashpoint came just weeks after the fatal shooting of a young Black man, Jimmie Lee Jackson, by an Alabama trooper. Many of them were brutally beaten by Alabama troopers and sheriff’s deputies.

Eight days later, President Lyndon Johnson introduced the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

In his remarks, Biden said, “On this bridge, blood was given to help redeem the soul of America.” 

“Selma is a reckoning. The right to vote ... to have your vote counted is the threshold of democracy and liberty. With it anything's possible,” Biden told the crowd of several thousand people who gathered to commemorate the pivotal day in U.S. history.

This year, marchers who gathered to reenact the bridge crossing once again sang “This Little Light of Mine” and “We Shall Overcome”. Following tradition, once they reached the point where Lewis and others were confronted in 1958, they stopped and prayed.

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