Auburn project identifying Bloody Sunday participants
By WVUA 23 News Reporter Kennedy Chase
Selma’s Bloody Sunday event may have happened more than 50 years ago, but two Auburn University professors and their students are ensuring those who marched for their rights will not be forgotten.
When most people think about what happened at Bloody Sunday in Selma, they think of Civil Rights activists including Martin Luther King Jr. and John Lewis, but more than 600 unnamed men and women joined them in the march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge on their way to Montgomery.
Their peaceful demonstration was met by Alabama State Troopers and their civilian allies wielding clubs and tear gas and other implements.
Auburn University faculty members and students are seeking help in their efforts to identify everyone who marched on that tragic day in 1965. Local Tuscaloosa civil rights activist and longtime Tuscaloosa City Council Member Harrison Taylor said he’s happy there’s an effort to document who was in attendance at such a momentous event.
“I think it’s a great idea and I appreciate them doing that because so much history is being lost about the movement,” Taylor said. “And it’s the perfect time to do it. There’s a lot of foot soldiers who need to be recognized. A lot of leaders have passed on, so it’s a great idea.”
The project is being conducted through Facebook. Photos from the event are posted, and followers can help identify people in the photos who have not yet been recognized. Family members and friends who have ties to those who marched are helping as much as they can in bringing those lost names to light.
Taylor said the effort is important for anyone who knows of someone’s involvement in Bloody Sunday.
“I think it means a whole lot to those to the foot soldiers to be recognized because that’s who changed things in this country,” Taylor said. “Young people made a big difference. John Lewis, you know, he’s gone and got all the publicity. But there are a lot of foot soldiers who didn’t get the publicity, and they’re who carried the ball.”
Taylor said it’s disturbing how much history has been lost through the years.
“History is to be taught and for everybody to know about, but some places want to hide it,” Taylor said. “But I think with Selma, Bloody Sunday changed things throughout America.”
If you’re interested in helping or following the effort, you can visit the project’s Facebook page right here.