Demonstrators in Selma reflect on history behind the commemorative march

SELMA, Ala. (WATE) – March 7, 1965 marked a turning point in the Civil Rights Movement. Demonstrators fighting for voting rights for African-Americans marched from Montgomery crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge into Selma, Alabama.

Previous story: East Tennesseans travel to Selma for the 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday” 

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The march was peaceful, but state troopers attacked dozens of marchers. Many of them ended up in the hospital after being sprayed with tear gas.

That day became known as “Bloody Sunday.” It led Congress to pass the Voting Rights Act of 1965. This act extended the right to vote to minorities.

Fifty years later, people from across the nation went to Selma, Alabama to cross at the Edmund Pettus Bridge, including President Barack Obama.

This small town in Alabama holds so much history for the country.

It was the site of violent change for the way all Americans are treated at the polling booth. Today a much different America gathers at the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

Fifty years later, the first African-American President addressed 100,000 people reflecting on where we were and how far the United States have come.

United States congresswoman from New York Caroline Maloney says being in Selma strengths her to study history.

“Dr. King he was never elected, he wasn’t the president of some big corporation, he was preacher but the strength and the power of his words did more to change America than any president and anyone in our history,” she said.

Deirdre Rousey says she drove from Carrolton, Georgia to Selma because it’s important to order those who help get the Voting Rights Act of 1965 passed

“It’s refreshing. It’s rejuvenating. I’m hoping people will go back to their own communities, making sure people are registered to vote in making sure they actually do vote,” she said.

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