SELMA, Ala. (WATE) – Many people from East Tennessee joined in commemorating the 50th anniversary of ‘Bloody Sunday’ in Selma, Alabama.
March 7, 1965 marked a turning point for African-American voting rights.
Thousands marched in hopes of continuing the legacy of foot soldiers who took these same steps on the Edmund Pettus Bridge five decades years ago.
Demonstrators agree, the atmosphere is very different from 1965. They still have the same message of justice, but the march was peaceful from start to finish.
“Just to see the comradery and the beauty of all these people, you know what they’ve been through for injustice and it hasn’t stopped,” said East Tennessean Harold Duckwaddle. “We need to continue fighting for justice.”
He says he traveled from Oak Ridge, Tennessee last night just to take part in history on Sunday.
“Dr. Martin Luther King started a movement,” said Duckwaddle. “Just to be there and to know that Martin Luther King Jr. had been there, now President Obama. It’s very special.”
Sheila Charles, daughter of well-known musician Ray Charles, says she wouldn’t have missed this moment for the world.
“It’s significant for those of us especially for African-Americans in the world today to come out and support what our forefather did they gave their lives to be able to walk across this bridge,” she said. “I think anyone who is breathing today whether white, black or Native American, whatever race of creed that you are should come and support the opportunity to have freedom.”