Since 1919

The Prairie News

Since 1919

The Prairie News

Since 1919

The Prairie News

Anniversary of Selma marches sparks conversation


Thousands of people from around the country packed onto an Alabama Bridge last Sunday to commemorate the infamous and violent confrontation between Alabama police and innocent protestors.


Fifty years ago, protestors lined up on the Edmund Pettus Bridge to walk from Selma to Montgomery, Ala. in protest for the support of equality and the 1965 Voting Act. Many public figures and government officials, including President Barack Obama, lined up alongside thousands of marchers to commemorate “Bloody Sunday.”


One of the few returning to the bridge 50 years later was William Baldwin, who brought along his grandchildren to walk the bridge as he did on that day. Baldwin describes what the day means to him and what he wants his grandchildren to derive from this day half a century later.


“They’re going to take this struggle on and we have to understand the price that was paid for them to have what they have now,” Baldwin said to ABC News. “It wasn’t granted to them, it was earned by blood, sweat and tears.”


Walking alongside Baldwin was President Obama, who gave what some say is one of the most powerful and profound speeches of the 21st century.


President Obama began by saying, “One afternoon 50 years ago, so much of our turbulent history , the stain of slavery and anguish of civil war, the yoke of segregation and tyranny of Jim Crow, the death of four little girls in Birmingham, and the dream of a Baptist preacher , all that history met on this bridge.”


Racism has been leading the headlines across the country and the 50 anniversary of “Bloody Sunday” along with the recent release of the major motion picture “Selma” seemed to fuel the topic. President Obama brought forward the topic Sunday by including his own words on the current battle for equal rights in our country.


“We just need to open our eyes, and ears, and hearts, to know that this nation’s racial history still casts its long shadow upon us,” Obama said. “We know the march is not yet over, the race is not yet won, and that reaching that blessed destination where we are judged by the content of our character requires admitting as much.”


President Obama gave credit to the progress our nation has made by saying, “Ask your gay friend if it’s easier to be out and proud in America now than it was 30 years ago. To deny this progress, our progress, would be to rob us of our own agency, our responsibility to do what we can to make America better.”


“We honor those who walked so we could run,” he said before wrapping up his speech.


Another notable voice who made an address last Sunday was the son of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Martin Luther King III.

According to the Washington Post, King III noted there is still work that needs to be done in the fight for equal rights.


“Today we should be celebrating, but we can’t celebrate yet,” King III said at a memorial service last Sunday at Brown Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church.


The events that took place 50 years ago will forever be a bookmark of American courage and true American heroism. Many say it is important that we learn from the mistakes our country made and continues to make so we can prosper toward the equal rights our country has desperately strived for since the dawning of it’s time.


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