Friday, March 07, 2003

worth noting

It was on this day in 1965 that a Civil Rights march was held by about 600 people attempting to walk from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama as part of a voter registration drive. The group, made up mostly of African Americans, was driven away by more than fifty Alabama State Troopers and a few dozen possemen. That night the ABC network interrupted its feature film Judgment at Nuremberg to broadcast footage of the police suppressing the march and people falling on the highway. It was about a week later that, President Lyndon Johnson addressed a joint session of congress in which he embraced the cause of the voter registration drive and used the phrase "We shall overcome." Dr. Martin Luther King was watching the address on television, and at the end of it, he burst into tears. He had stayed home from the march because there was word he'd be assassinated, but he led a second march from Selma to Montgomery, after he was granted permission by a Federal judge. The second march began with a group of 2500 and ended with about 25,000 marching into Montgomery. When King arrived there on March 25th, he delivered a speech in which he said, "I know that you are asking today, 'How long will it take?' I come to say to you this afternoon however difficult the moment, however frustrating the hour, it will not be long, because truth pressed to earth will rise again. How long? Not long, because no lie can live forever. How long? Not long, because you still reap what you sow. How long? Not long. Because the arm of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice."
(from the writer's almanac)


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