“They came with horses, they came with nightsticks.”
Amelia Boynton Robinson, the woman known as the “Queen Mother” of the Civil Rights Movement, recalls the infamous day 50 years ago when she was tear-gassed and beaten as she stood up for African-American voting rights.
On March 7, 1965, Alabama state troopers blocked civil rights demonstrators who had just crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma. The troopers attacked the marchers in events that became known as “Bloody Sunday.”
The incident was seen around the world, and helped lead to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1965, signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson on August 6, 1965.
Today, President Obama and prominent Democrats head to Selma, Alabama, to attend memorial services.
It should be noted that as of last night, no leading Republican has announced they will be taking part in the memorial today. From Politico:
None of the top leaders — House Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy or Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who was once thought likely to attend to atone for reports that he once spoke before a white supremacist group — will be in Selma for the three-day event that commemorates the 1965 march and the violence that protesters faced at the hands of white police officers.
Black leaders in Congress pressured Scalise to attend the Faith and Politics Institute event after news reports revealed that the Louisiana Republican gave a speech to a group connected with Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke when Scalise was still serving in the state Legislature. Scalise said late last month that a scheduling conflict would keep him from Selma this year but that he hoped to attend in 2016.
McCarthy has attended in the past but won’t make the trip this year. Senate Majority Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will also miss the event.