Tag: Edmund Pettus Bridge

Selma “Foot Soldiers” from 1965 Civil Rights Marches Receive The Congressional Gold Medal

Aided by Father James Robinson, Mrs. Coretta Scott King, widow of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., center, and John Lewis of the Voter Education Project, a crowd estimated by police at 5,000, march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge from Selma, Alabama Saturday, March 8, 1975. The march commemorated the decade since the violent struggle for voting rights began in 1965 with “Bloody Sunday” at the bridge as police tried to stop a march to Montgomery. (AP Photo)
Aided by Father James Robinson, Mrs. Coretta Scott King, widow of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., center, and John Lewis of the Voter Education Project, a crowd estimated by police at 5,000, march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge from Selma, Alabama Saturday, March 8, 1965. The march commemorated the decade since the violent struggle for voting rights began in 1965 with “Bloody Sunday” at the bridge as police tried to stop a march to Montgomery. (AP Photo)

article via newsone.com

On Wednesday, Congressional leaders honored the “Foot Soldiers” of the Selma to Montgomery Marches in 1965 with the nation’s highest civilian award, the Congressional Gold Medal.

Anecdotally, Paul Ryan – Speaker of the House of Representatives, who also spoke during the ceremony and praised the foot soldiers for their part in the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 – will not act on a bill to restore the Voting Rights Act that was essentially gutted by the Supreme Court nearly two years ago.

The ceremony, held in the U.S. Capitol’s Emancipation Hall, featured speeches by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), and Rev. Frederick D. Reese, the former president of the Dallas County Voters League.

Thursday morning, Congresswoman Terri Sewell (D-AL), who introduced the bill to honor the foot soldiers; Charles Mauldin, former president of the Student Movement; and Joyce O’Neal, a member of the Student Movement, joined Roland Martin on NewsOne Now to discuss the award.

Rep. Sewell told Martin, “Yesterday was about making sure this nation’s history is righting a wrong, they (the foot soldiers) should be given all of the credit [for] forcing this nation to live up to its ideals of equality and justice for all.”

Congresswoman Sewell continued, “I think it’s up to us, this generation and future generations, to continue the fight,”because there is so much more needed to be done to “strengthen the Voting Rights Act.”

In reflecting on yesterday’s ceremony, Mauldin thanked Congresswoman Sewell for introducing the bill and said, “This is probably the first time in about 51 years in my being involved in things that we’ve gotten recognition” from government officials.

He added, “We are certainly invited to the protests to demonstrate, but seldomly invited to the celebration. This is the first time that people like us have been invited to the celebration.”

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NAACP Begins 860-Mile Justice March From Selma to Washington D.C.

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On November 29, 2014 in Ferguson, Mo., members of the NAACP and their supporters began the first day of Journey for Justice, seven-day 120-mile march from the Canfield Green apartments where Michael Brown was killed to the Governor’s mansion in Jefferson City, Mo. (SCOTT OLSON/GETTY IMAGES)

NAACP leaders on Saturday kicked off a 40-day “Journey for Justice” march across the South, beginning with a rally in Selma, Ala., a city that played a pivotal role in the the 1960s civil rights movement, according to The Associated Press.

The goal of the march is to “call attention to the issue of racial injustice in modern America,” the report says. The trek will span across eastern seaboard states before ending in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 15.

The event began on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, where peaceful marchers were attacked by police in 1965 spurring the passage of the Voting Rights Act, which was signed into law 50 years ago this week. In November, the group led a march from Ferguson, Mo., to Jefferson City, Mo., in protest after Darren Wilson, a white police officer, was not indicted in the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teen.

“We know we can do the distance because our lives, our votes, our jobs and our schools matter,” said Cornell William Brooks, president and chief executive of the NAACP, reports Reuters.

“Let us march on, let us march on, let us march on till victory is won,” said Brooks, as he led about 200 marchers across the bride on the first leg of the journey, Reuters writes.

article by Lynette Holloway via theroot.com

Emory University School of Law to Name an Endowed Chair in Honor of John Lewis

Civil Rights leader and Congressman John Lewis (Photo via black
Civil Rights leader and Congressman John Lewis (Photo via history.com)

The Emory University School of Law has announced that it is establishing an endowed chair to honor civil rights legend and Georgia Congressman John Lewis. The John Lewis Chair in Civil Rights and Social Justice will be funded by an anonymous $1.5 million donation. The law school will raise an additional $500,000 to fully fund the professorship.

Robert Shapiro, dean of the law school, said that “this gift will allow us to perform a nationwide search and name a professor who will further scholarship on the issues of civil rights and social justice. Through this chair, we are honored to recognize Congressman’s Lewis’ historical achievements in these vital areas.

John Lewis was a keynote speaker at the 1963 March on Washington. As chair of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, Lewis was beaten on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, on Bloody Sunday in March 1965. He has served his Atlanta district in Congress since 1987.

The anonymous donor stated that “John Lewis exemplifies the values of courage, commitment, dignity, humanity, fairness and equal opportunity that were and are the hallmarks of the movement. Congressman Lewis is an inspiration to us as he continues to speak out against injustice and to fight for equality and civil rights. Atlanta holds an important place in the history of civil rights in the U.S. and John Lewis is a central figure in that history; we hope that a professorship at Emory Law School in his name will in some small way help to continue the good and great work that he has done these last 50 years.”

article via jbhe.com

West Virginia University Receives Donation of Artwork Depicting Racial Injustice

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Harvey and Jennifer Peyton are donating a series of paintings to the Art Museum of West Virginia University that deal with racial injustice in the 1930s to the 1960s.

Among the works donated is “Confrontation at the Bridge,” a painting by Jacob Lawrence of marchers on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, on Bloody Sunday in March 1965. Other works include “Waiting Room, South” by Rosalee Berkowitz, ” Lynching (Self-Portrait With Rope)” by Louis Lozowick, and “Bessie Smith, Queen of the Blues” by Margaret Burroughs.

Harvey Peyton holds bachelor’s and law degrees from West Virginia University. He stated that “Jen and I have dedicated our collecting to the idea that visual art and the concept of social justice should go hand in hand. We hope these works, and other we have given and intend to give to the Art Museum of WVU, will enrich the idea of both art and community at the university long after we are gone.”

article via jbhe.com

Obama Heads To Selma For 50th Anniversary Of Voting Rights March on Saturday

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Fifty years ago, several hundred peaceful protesters marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge from Selma, Ala., to Montgomery to underscore the need for Black voting rights.

Demonstrators were brutalized and beaten by White police officers in what has become known as “Bloody Sunday.” This weekend, scores of civil rights leaders, clergy, elected officials, and peaceful demonstrators will converge on Selma to mark the 50th anniversary of the march that helped spark a movement.

U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) will be there just as he was on March 7, 1965, when he was hit on the head, left bloody and unconscious. He will be accompanied Saturday by President Barack Obama. A second march, organized by local leaders, is scheduled for Sunday.

The event comes at a time when voting rights are once again under attack in the U.S., especially after the Supreme Court gutted a key provision of the Voting Rights Act in 2013. It also comes at a time when protesters have launched an online petition to change the name of the historic bridge, which was named for Edmund Winston Pettus, a Confederate general and U.S. senator who lived in Selma after the Civil War.

“Fifty years ago this week, brave activists embarked upon the Selma to Montgomery March to bring attention to the fight for voting rights,” NAACP President and CEO Cornell William Brooks said.

The Selma to Montgomery Jubilee is more than a commemorative occasion—ever present in our minds is that voting rights continue to be impinged,” Brooks continued. “And this new assault on voting rights is being ignored by the same lawmakers who are coming to Selma to celebrate the jubilee. Selma is now—and the NAACP will not rest until every American has unfettered access to the ballot box. I stand with NAACP state leadership in demanding that our most vulnerable voters be protected by the law—in every state.”

Lewis said in an interview last month with USA Today that he and U.S. Reps. Terri Sewell (D-Ala.) and Martha Roby (R-Ala) have assembled what will be the largest congressional delegation participating in the pilgrimage to Selma in its 17-year history. The delegation will participate in a series of civil rights-related events in Birmingham on March 6, Selma and Marion on March 7, and Montgomery on March 8, the report says.

“When President (Bill) Clinton came (in 2000) we had more than 20,000 people,” Lewis said, according to USA Today. “With President Obama, it could be many more. It’s going to be wonderful.”

article by Lynette Holloway via newsone.com

“Selma” Cast Marches in Alabama; Free Screenings in 25 Cities Planned

“Selma” director Ava DuVernay and producer Oprah Winfrey joined their cast and crew to march alongside local residents of Selma, Ala., on Sunday in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

“Selma” dramatizes the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. (played by David Oyelowo) in 1965 as he organizes and leads a march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., and on Sunday cast members taking to the streets included Oyelowo and Winfrey, who tweeted, “Happy Super Soul Sunday every 1. We’re in Selma celebrating @SelmaMovie. How cool is that!”

Singer-songwriter John Legend, who won the Golden Globe for original song with Common for the “Selma” song “Glory,” also took to social media to promote the march. The artists performed the song with the Tuskegee University Gospel Choir on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma.

“In Selma, Alabama. Meet at City Hall at 4pm and March with us #Glory #MarchOn,” he posted with a photo of the bridge on Instagram.

Paramount Pictures, the film’s distributor, will host two free screenings of the film Monday for the general public at at the Selma Walton Theater.

“We are proud to be a part of this extraordinary effort to bring this poignant and timeless American story to the diverse students of Los Angeles,” said Debra Martin Chase, chief executive of Martin Chase Productions, and T. Warren Jackson, senior vice president and associate general counsel and chief ethics officer of DirecTV, which organized the efforts in Los Angeles.

The film, which cost about $20 million to make, has pulled in about $26 million since its limited release on Christmas Day. It earned an A-plus on CinemaScore and wide praise from critics.

“It’s a really incredible movie, because it’s playing so well in so many diverse places and has all of these organic grass-roots energy around it,” Megan Colligan, president of domestic marketing and distribution, told The Times last week. “It’s big cities, it’s small cities — it’s touching people all over.”

Colligan said one passionate fan in Louisiana reached out to Paramount asking if she could screen “Selma” at the local gym because there was no theater within 50 miles of town.

“The historical drama is a tough nut to crack to make it entertaining and inspiring, and I think Ava DuVernay figured out how to do that,” Colligan said.

article by Saba Hamedy via latimes.com