Posts Tagged ‘Selma Alabama

21
Mar
08

On This Day, 3-21-08: Selma, Alabama

Selma to Montgomery march begins

In the name of African-American voting rights, 3,200 civil rights demonstrators, led by Martin Luther King Jr., begin a historic march from Selma, Alabama, to the State Capitol at Montgomery. U.S. Army and National Guard troops were on hand to provide safe passage for the “Alabama Freedom March,” which twice had been turned back by Alabama state police at Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge.

In 1965, King and his Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) decided to make the small town of Selma the focus of their drive to win voting rights for African Americans in the South. Alabama’s governor, George Wallace, was a vocal opponent of the African-American civil rights movement, and local authorities in Selma had consistently thwarted efforts by the Dallas County Voters League and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) to register local blacks. King had won the 1964 Nobel Prize for Peace, and the world’s eyes turned to Selma after his arrival there in January 1965. He launched a series of peaceful protests, and by mid-February thousands of protesters in the Selma area had spent time in jail, including King himself.

On February 18, a group of white segregationists attacked some peaceful marchers in the nearby town of Marion. Jimmie Lee Jackson, an African-American demonstrator, was fatally wounded in the melee. After he died, King and the SCLC planned a massive march from Selma to Montgomery. Although Governor Wallace promised to prevent it from going forward, on March 7 some 500 demonstrators, led by SCLC leader Hosea Williams and SNCC leader John Lewis, began the 54-mile march to the state capital. After crossing Pettus Bridge, they were met by Alabama state troopers and posse men who attacked them with nightsticks, tear gas, and whips after they refused to turn back. Several of the protesters were severely beaten, and others ran for their lives. The incident was captured on national television and outraged many Americans. Hundreds of ministers, priests, and rabbis headed to Selma to join the voting rights campaign. King, who was in Atlanta at the time, promised to return to Selma immediately and lead another attempt.

On March 9, King led 1,500 marchers, black and white, across Edmund Pettus Bridge but found Highway 80 blocked again by state troopers. King paused the marchers and led them in prayer, whereupon the troopers stepped aside. King then turned the protesters around, believing that the troopers were trying to create an opportunity that would allow them to enforce a federal injunction prohibiting the march. This decision led to criticism from some marchers who called King cowardly. In Selma that night, James Reeb, a white minister from Boston, was fatally beaten by a group of segregationists.

Six days later, on March 15, President Lyndon Johnson went on national television to pledge his support to the Selma protesters and call for the passage of a new voting rights bill that he was introducing in Congress. “There is no Negro problem. There is no Southern problem. There is no Northern problem. There is only an American problem,” he said, “And we shall overcome.”

On March 21, U.S. Army troops and federalized Alabama National Guardsmen escorted the marchers across Edmund Pettus Bridge and down Highway 80. When the highway narrowed to two lanes, only 300 marchers were permitted, but thousands more rejoined the Alabama Freedom March as it came into Montgomery on March 25. On the steps of Alabama State Capitol, King addressed live television cameras and a crowd of 25,000, just a few hundred feet from Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, where he got his start as a minister in 1954. That August, Congress passed the Voting Rights Act, which guaranteed African Americans the right to vote. By 1967, African-American registered voters in Alabama had nearly tripled. “Selma to Montgomery march begins.” 2008. The History Channel website. 20 Mar 2008, 12:10 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6843.

1349 – 3,000 Jews were killed in Black Death riots in Efurt Germany.

1556 – Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury, was burned at the stake at Oxford after retracting the last of seven recantations that same day.

1835 – Charles Darwin & Mariano Gonzales met at Portillo Pass.

1851 – Emperor Tu Duc ordered that Christian priests be put to death.

1851 – Yosemite Valley was discovered in California.

1868 – The Sorosos club for professional women was formed in New York City by Jennie June. It was the first of its kind.

1928 – U.S. President Calvin Coolidge gave the Congressional Medal of Honor to Charles Lindbergh for his first trans-Atlantic flight.

1945 – During World War II, Allied bombers began four days of raids over Germany.

1963 – Alcatraz Island, the federal penitentiary in San Francisco Bay, CA, closed.

1965 – The U.S. launched Ranger 9. It was the last in a series of unmanned lunar explorations.

1980 – U.S. President Jimmy Carter announced to the U.S. Olympic Team that they would not participate in the 1980 Summer Games in Moscow as a boycott against Soviet intervention in Afghanistan.

1985 – Larry Flynt offered to sell his pornography empire for $26 million or “Hustler” magazine alone for $18 million.

2002 – In Paris, an 1825 print by French inventor Joseph Nicephore Niepce was sold for $443,220. The print, of a man leading a horse, was the earliest recorded image taken by photographic means.

A man’s friendships are one of the best measures of his worth.
Charles Darwin

If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.
Charles Darwin

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.
Charles Darwin

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20
Mar
08

On This Day, 3-20-08: Selma

Retired Marine Commandant comments on conduct of war

Retired U.S. Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Shoup estimates that up to 800,000 men would be required just to defend South Vietnamese population centers. He further stated that the United States could only achieve military victory by invading the North, but argued that such an operation would not be worth the cost.

Also on this day: The New York Times publishes excerpts from General Westmoreland’s classified end-of-year report, which indicated that the U.S. command did not believe the enemy capable of any action even approximating the Tet Offensive. This report, Shoup’s comments, and other conflicting assessments of the situation in Vietnam contributed to the growing dissatisfaction among a large segment of American society with the Vietnam War. At the end of the previous year, Johnson administration officials had insisted that the United States had turned a corner in the war. The strength and scope of the Tet Offensive flew in the face of these claims, feeding a widening credibility gap. Despite administration assurances that the situation was getting better in Vietnam, the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong had launched a massive attack at 3:00 A.M. on January 31, 1968, simultaneously hitting Saigon, Da Nang, Hue, and other major cities, towns, and military bases throughout South Vietnam. One assault team got within the walls of the U.S. Embassy in Saigon before they were destroyed. In the end, the communist forces were resoundingly defeated, but the United States suffered a fatal strategic blow. The Tet Offensive cost the government the confidence of the American people and public opinion turned against the war.

“Retired Marine Commandant comments on conduct of war.” 2008. The History Channel website. 20 Mar 2008, 03:54 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=1740.

1525 – Paris’ parliament began its pursuit of Protestants.

1616 – Walter Raleigh was released from Tower of London to seek gold in Guyana.

1627 – France & Spain signed an accord for fighting Protestantism.

1792 – In Paris, the Legislative Assembly approved the use of the guillotine.

1815 – Napoleon Bonaparte entered Paris after his escape from Elba and began his “Hundred Days” rule.

1852 – Harriet Beecher Stowe’s book “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” subtitled “Life Among the Lowly,” was first published.

1865 – A plan by John Wilkes Booth to abduct U.S. President Abraham Lincoln was ruined when Lincoln changed his plans and did not appear at the Soldier’s Home near Washington, DC.

1868 – Jesse James Gang robbed a bank in Russelville, KY, of $14,000.

1890 – The General Federation of Womans’ Clubs was founded.

1897 – The first U.S. orthodox Jewish Rabbinical seminary was incorporated in New York.

1900 – It was announced that European powers had agreed to keep China’s doors open to trade.

1902 – France and Russia acknowledged the Anglo-Japanese alliance. They also asserted their right to protect their interests in China and Korea.

1906 – In Russia, army officers mutiny at Sevastopol.

1918 – The Bolsheviks of the Soviet Union asked for American aid to rebuild their army.

1922 – U.S. President Warren G. Harding ordered U.S. troops back from the Rhineland.

1922 – The USS Langley was commissioned. It was the first aircraft carrier for the U.S. Navy.

1933 – The first German concentration camp was completed at Dachau.

1976 – Patricia Hearst was convicted of armed robbery for her role in the hold up of a San Francisco Bank.

1985 – Libby Riddles won the 1,135-mile Anchorage-to-Nome dog race becoming the first woman to win the Iditarod.

LBJ pledges federal troops to Alabama civil-rights march

On this day in 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson sends a telegram to Governor George Wallace of Alabama in which he agrees to send federal troops to supervise a planned African-American civil-rights march in Wallace’s home state.  “LBJ pledges federal troops to Alabama civil-rights march.” 2008. The History Channel website. 20 Mar 2008, 03:52 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=284.




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