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"The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund is simply the best civil rights law firm in American history." -- President Obama

SELMA: The March That Changed America

A young woman holds up a sign that says, "Voter Suppression is Un-American."

 

NAACP Legal Defense Fund Participates in

Historic Selma March Anniversary Events

The national conversation around voting rights and the Trump administration’s unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud are at a fever pitch as we honor the 53rd anniversary of “Bloody Sunday” and the historic Selma-to-Montgomery March. It is imperative we continue to pay homage to the 600 unarmed men, women and children who were on the front lines in the fight for voting rights on March 7, 1965 or “Bloody Sunday.” Early in 1965, Martin Luther King Jr.’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference made Selma, Alabama, the focus of its efforts to register Black voters in Alabama. On March 7, protestors attempting to cross the Edmund Pettis Bridge on their way from Selma to the state capital of Montgomery were assaulted by Alabama State Troopers wielding whips, nightsticks, and tear gas.

LDF played a pivotal role in ensuring the marchers were able to proceed to Montgomery as planned. LDF and cooperating attorneys Fred Gray, Solomon Seay, Jr., Oscar Adams, Jr., and Demetrius Newton filed a lawsuit against then Alabama Governor George Wallace in a case known as Williams v. Wallace.  In that case, U.S. District Court Judge Frank M. Johnson ordered federal protection for a later march attempt. LDF lawyers Jack Greenberg, Norman Amaker, Charles H. Jones, and James Nabrit were subsequently involved in drawing up a safe and secure route from Selma to Montgomery.

In honor of their bravery and mission, LDF is participating in a series of events during the Selma Bridge Crossing Jubilee 2018, held March 1-5 in locations throughout Selma, Alabama. LDF will also host special events, including a voting rights panel at the historic Brown Chapel A.M.E. Church.

The monumental civil rights protest in Selma, and LDF’s role in ensuring it was successful, cast much needed media attention on the outright denial of the right to vote to African-Americans and hastened the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. As we continue to underscore the importance of this anniversary, this is also a time to recognize the struggles we currently face in the voting rights arena. In 2013, the Supreme Court of the United States effectively struck down the heart of the Voting Rights Act, so that nine states wholly and certain localities in six states mostly in the South, are no longer required to seek advance federal approval to change their election laws. The fight to ensure voting rights for all Americans is as urgent as ever. 

View the program card detailing the reception and voting panel that LDF will host this weekend.

Follow LDF on Facebook and Twitter for scenes from Selma anniversary events.