Monday, July 6, 2015

Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. National Historic Trail.

I registered to vote the day I turned 18, and have taken part in the democratic process ever since.  I never had to struggle to vote; it came automatically and easily - walk in, show my I.D. and cast my vote.  Simple, right?!   However, in the 60s, some people didn't have it so easy.  The Selma to Montgomery March is one of the most important events in the Civil Rights Movement.  I always wanted to visit Selma, and today I took that historic trail that people took in 1965.  It was very enlightening, and made me realize that our freedom should never be taken for granted and sometimes you have to fight for equality.

Before it was a Academy Award-nominated movie, Selma, Alabama, was [and is] a real place with real people who successfully brought about change in the South.  In protest of voting rights for black voters, on “Bloody Sunday,” (3/7/1965), 600 civil rights marchers headed out of Selma on US Route 80 towards the Capitol in Montgomery. They only got as far as the Edmund Pettus Bridge, 6 blocks away, when police attacked them with clubs and tear gas and drove them back into Selma.  Oh, Hell No!, they didn’t give up!  On Sunday, March 21, about 3,200 marchers set out for Montgomery, walking 12 miles a day and sleeping in fields. By the time they reached the Capitol on March 25, they were 25,000-strong. Less than five months later, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 – their voices had been heard loud and clear.  This is the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, a National Historic Trail.

There's more to Selma, Alabama, than this bridge.  It's a small town with a lot of charming, old buildings.  I enjoyed driving around the city and seeing all the historic places.

They could use a new design firm for their flea market sign!


This historic church was a refuge for black people in 1965.  It was the only place that they were allowed to congregate.  They sought refuge here.

First Baptist Church. 

Selma is filled with history!

In 1965, James Reeb was murdered by segregationists.

The Courthouse

The drive from Selma east to Montgomery is an historic trail.  It is the 50-mile route that black people WALKED in 1965 for Voters' Rights.  Along the way, there is an interpretive center, and lots of markers depicting where the people slept in fields, and events that took place along the trail.

VIOLA LIUZZO gave her life in the struggle for voters' rights.  Driving back from a trip shuttling fellow activists to the Montgomery airport, she was shot and killed by members of the KKK.  This memorial is along the historic march route.  

The Alabama State Capitol Building in Montgomery Alabama is the end of the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail.  This beautiful building was built in 1851 and was the first Confederate Capitol. About a week ago, amid quite a bit of controversy, Gov. Robert Bentley quietly ordered the Confederate flag, which stood at the foot of the Confederate memorial on the Capital grounds, removed.

A pretty church by the Capitol.

This fellow was praying, Bible in hand, on the steps of the Alabama Supreme Court Building.  Being that the US Supreme Court's ruling on gay marriage had just been handed down, I am guessing that this had something to do with that decision.

A very nice Civil Rights Memorial by the Capitol Building.

The Governor of Alabama's Mansion.  NICE digs!

This video is the exact trail the Selma marchers took, walking 50 miles from Selma to Montgomery along Route 80 East.  The difference is, I was in a car and this was only 40 seconds; they walked the entire 50 miles.  Amazing what the Power of the People can accomplish, and this was proof.

(Click play button to play video)