By Russell Freedman
For the fiftieth anniversary of the 1965 march for balloting correct from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, Newberry Medalist Russell Freedman has written a riveting account of this pivotal occasion within the heritage of civil rights. Illustrated with greater than 40 pictures, this can be a vital chronicle of occasions each American should still know.
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Extra info for Because They Marched. The People's Campaign for Voting Rights That Changed America
Leading the column in King’s absence were SNCC chairman John Lewis and Hosea Williams, an SCLC leader and aide to King. Among the marchers were students and older folks, parents and children, carrying backpacks, bedrolls, and lunch bags. If the state police did not stop them, they expected the march to last at least four days, allowing plenty of time for press coverage. That morning they had been coached on how best to protect themselves from blows and from the effects of tear gas. Trailing the procession as it set out were four ambulances and ten volunteer doctors and nurses John Lewis and Hosea Williams led the march in the absence of Dr.
Rather than cowing the students into submission, the arrests stiffened their resolve, and they returned to the streets with renewed conviction. “We considered tak- 20 Student demonstrators on their way to jail. ing a stand, being arrested, and going to jail to be an event that instilled the utmost pride,” one student demonstrator explained. Mass meetings were now being held weekly at Brown Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church. Students came to the pulpit to tell of their experiences as demonstrators, while speakers from black churches around Dallas County urged adults in the audience to follow the students’ example and get involved.
King was followed at the pulpit by the Reverend Frederick Douglass Reese, president of Selma’s black teachers’ association. The time had come for the teachers to step forward, Reese declared. “If you will participate in a teachers march, sign this list,” he called out to his fellow teachers in the audience. “We are going to march from Clark Elementary School to the courthouse on Friday, January 22. ” This was Selma’s first mass meeting in six months, since the court order banning marches and meetings.