As we approach the 50thAnniversary of Bloody Sunday, we are proud to showcase a key, historical document from LDF’s archives about its role in the march from Selma to Montgomery. On March 16, 1965, LDF attorneys Jack Greenberg, Norman Amaker, Charles H. Jones, and James Nabrit, along with cooperating law firm Gray & Seay of Alabama, filed a proposed plan for the march to Montgomery on behalf of plaintiffs Hosea Williams, Peter Hall, and John Lewis. In the plan, they detailed each day of the 5-day march, including the route (starting at Brown’s Chapel AME Church in Selma and ending at the capitol in Montgomery), services to be provided (food, facilities, litter pick up, first aid service, return transportation for marchers, and lines of communication), and expected behavior (including when songs could be sung). The plan, which was ultimately embodied in the court’s order, also stated the plaintiffs’ intention to organize a 20-person meeting with the Governor once the marchers arrived in Montgomery.
The order in favor of the plaintiffs’ motion that the court issued after hearing allowed the march to continue after the police violent and terror prematurely ended the marchers’ first attempt. Six months later, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed in direct response to the activism and national awareness-raising surrounding “Bloody Sunday” and the Selma to Montgomery march. LDF is proud to have played such a direct role in this struggle for voting rights and to continue to defend against modern day voter suppression.