Rep. Maloney travels to Selma to mark 50th Anniversary of ‘Bloody Sunday’

Mar 6, 2015
Press Release

WASHINGTON -- Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) today joined Rep. John Lewis (GA-05),  civil rights leaders, and more than 100  members of the U.S. House and Senate in Selma, Alabama to mark the 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday.” On March 7, 1965, a group of brave civil rights marchers, including Rep. Lewis, marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, on their way to Montgomery to demand that African American citizens be finally given their constitutional right to vote. At the bridge, the marchers were attacked by Alabama State troopers, with billy clubs, cattle prods, and tear gas.  Many of the marchers were injured, some of them severely.

“It is an honor to join with civil rights leaders to mark ‘Bloody Sunday’, a dark day in US History but a crucial turning point in the civil rights movement,” said Congresswoman Maloney. “What started as a peaceful march intended as a symbol for full voting rights quickly degraded into a display of horrific brutality. Hundreds of demonstrators were beaten bloody. While we have made great strides since that day, there is still much to be done. Voter suppression is alive and well, and Voter ID laws across the country are an upsetting reality. I hope that our trip to Selma will refocus the country’s attention on the necessity of equal voting rights for all, independent of color, creed, or financial status.”

The images of “Bloody Sunday” galvanized the nation.  On March 15, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson addressed a Joint Session of Congress, urging Congress to pass the Voting Rights Act. On March 21, Martin Luther King Jr. led a march across the bridge – this time joined by 30,000 people from across the country, including national civil rights leaders like current Congressman John Lewis and Hollywood and other celebrities, and protected by federal troops. On March 25, the marchers reached the steps of the Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery, where Reverend King and the other marchers called for voting rights legislation.

“Five short months after ‘Bloody Sunday,’ President Johnson signed the landmark Voting Rights Act,” Maloney said.  “It outlawed discriminatory voting practices, but much of it has unfortunately been weakened by the Supreme Court. Congress must take action to update the Voting Rights Act, and I’ll be fighting to make sure that happens. The heroes of the civil rights movement fought with everything they had to achieve the Voting Rights Act. We cannot not dishonor their sacrifice by letting these landmark protections slip away.”