Biden visits Selma for 58th anniversary of Bloody Sunday
President Joe Biden was one of many civic leaders in attendance in Selma to commemorate the 58th anniversary of Bloody Sunday.
On March 7, 1965, protesters began a march along a 54-mile long highway from Selma to Montgomery. They began at Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma to protest the lack of voting rights for African Americans. They didn’t get far, because Alabama State Troopers and their allies were there to greet the marchers with police dogs, water guns and batons. That brutal day wound up a nationwide wakeup call for the civil rights movement.
“Going through the museums is so moving, I mean it’s tragic, and in a day and age where everyone is saying, ‘hide that stuff. Don’t talk about it. Things are better now,’ we know they’re not better now. They never changed,” said Jean Ross, a marcher at the bridge 58 years later.
This trip was Biden’s third time crossing the bridge, his arms linked with other national leaders.
The annual bridge crossing is held on the first Sunday of March and attracts people from all corners of the country.
“When we went to the (Civil Rights Memorial Center in Montgomery), it was very emotional, very hard for me,” said marcher Nancy Hagans. “When I walked in and saw the children and their mothers in shackles, I thought of myself and my two daughters. It could’ve easily been us.”
Hagans said what happened in Selma over half a century ago might be taught in history textbooks, but the only way to truly learn what happened that day is to experience the march yourself.
“Walking across the bridge, I swear you can hear the screams and see the violence that took place,” Ross said.
“To send a message. The fight is not over. It’s not over because we still have a lot of work to do,” Hagans said.
In the first few minutes of Biden’s speech, he reminded people of the importance of Bloody Sunday as well as the $20 million provided by the FEMA Public Assistance Program to Selma after the Jan. 12 tornado that uprooted much of the town.
“We should learn everything, the good, the bad, the truth of who we are as a nation. Everyone should know the truth of Selma,” Biden said.