Thousands gather in Selma, Ala. to mark 50 years since ‘Bloody Sunday’

SELMA, Ala. (WATE) – This weekend marked 50 years since the march from Selma to Montgomery, a pivotal moment in the civil rights movement. WATE 6 On Your Side Reporter Kristen Holloway was there as thousands marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

The small town of Selma, Alabama, emerged in March 1965 as the center of the American civil rights movement. Politicians and working people protested for voting rights for African-Americans and to end segregation. On Saturday, 50 years later, President Barack Obama, the first African-American President addressed 100,000 people reflecting on where we were and how far the United States has come.

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

“The single most powerful word in our democracy is the word ‘we.’ We the people, we shall overcome, yes we can,” said President Barack Obama.

Henry Singleton was born and raised in Montgomery, Alabama he tells me he never knew the magnitude of what he was apart of growing up.

“At the age of 13, when Dr. Martin Luther King led the march from Selma to Montgomery, they stayed their overnight in a hospital called St. Jude. My grandmother woke us up early that morning and we marched from St. Jude to downtown Montgomery,” said Singleton.

On Sunday, thousands gathered to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday. Harold Duckwaddle drove all the way from Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

“This is emotional to me because of what the rights that people have fought for and just to see the camaraderie and the beauty of all these people you know what they’ve been through for injustice and it hasn’t stopped we need to continue fighting for justice,” said Duckwaddle.

Several people said their goal was to leave Selma inspired and to continue the legacy of the foot soldiers who marched.

“To be here to see the bridge yesterday to see our president speak, I think I can go on to my death one day and say I’ve seen what Martin said as we went to the mountain top,” said Singleton.

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