On Sunday morning, March 3, a convoy of about 60 UAB students will trek down to Selma, Ala., to commemorate, soberly, the acts of Bloody Sunday. The group will join hundreds – possibly thousands – from around the country who will converge for the annual walk along the historic Edmund Pettus Bridge.
“It is important to use this cultural excursion as an opportunity to renew the various social and racial justice causes of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement for contemporary social and racial justices issues,” said Raphael Richard, coordinator of multicultural and diversity programs at UAB.
On March 7, 1965, 600 marchers walked along the bridge in a peaceful protest of the murder of Jimmie Lee Jackson, a 26-year-old protester who was killed by an Alabama state trooper. Area police mobbed the group, spraying them with tear gas and beating them with billy clubs. Images of the attack made international headlines. Shortly thereafter, the country joined together for the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
“By participating in Jubilee and the re-enactment of the Edmund Pettus Bridge crossing, we want students to be able to reflect on Jimmie Lee Jackson’s vision for his city and country that was cut short by his death,” Richard said. “We hope that students will be able to create their own vision and wishes for their hometown, Birmingham and our country today as a tribute to his contribution to the U.S. Civil Rights Movement.”
The group will arrive in Selma for the pre-march rally at the Historic Brown Chapel Church, and will then participate in the re-enactment of the bridge crossing.
"This trip commemorates the progress we’ve made," Richard said, "but I feel we must also reflect and acknowledge that we still have work to do.”
About the blogger: Marie Sutton, firstname.lastname@example.org, is a media specialist in the UAB Office of Media Relations. Her beat includes humanities, social sciences, the School of Education and student life.