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You are here News Human Rights Selma wants to be noticed more than one day a year

Selma wants to be noticed more than one day a year

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Bloody Sunday march in SelmaWhen President Joe Biden landed here Sunday, he met a city frozen in time.

Brick buildings, aging and largely untouched since the days its inhabitants helped ignite the country’s civil rights movement nearly six decades ago, line the streets. Empty storefronts dot both sides of the main drag — Broad Street — where the famed Edmund Pettus Bridge is located. Typically, the city is quiet. But on the first weekend of every March, the streets come alive.

On Sunday, hours before Biden stepped foot on the bridge, white vendor tents covered almost every corner, many selling T-shirts emblazoned with the face of the late Rep. John Lewis or a $13 plate of fried fish. Grassroots organizers held programs on reparations and voting rights.

Biden arrived to recognize “Bloody Sunday.” The 600-person demonstration in Selma on March 7, 1965, ended with state troopers beating protesters, and it ultimately led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act later that year. Biden’s visit was part of both a somber commemoration and a joyful celebration. A reminder of Black excellence and strength — and of the terrors of the Jim Crow era. For decades, nearly every president has visited Selma during this weekend.


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