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Civil Rights Diary

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Civil Rights Diary

Lisa Moore



Michael Rydeski

Civil Rights Diary

I was a young African American woman involved in the Civil Rights campaigns with religious leaders and Martin Luther King, the motivation of the group was the right for people of color to vote.  Black activists and other religious leaders including Martin Luther King started a voting rights campaign in Selma, Alabama on January 2, 1965.The leader picked Selma because of the reputation for ruthlessness and violence of law enforcement in Selma and especially by Sheriff Jim Clark and get the attention of national newspaper and television and also but pressure on President Lyndon Johnson to enact new voting rights legislation. Within the campaign there were large amount of arrest made and we were peaceful for the first month. But in the month of February that all changed when Jimmie Lee Jackson a church deacon who was protecting his mother for an officer nightstick was beaten and died eight days later.

        The reaction to the inhumaneness of police in Selma and in Marion caused the group to march on March 7.1965 starting in  Selma and ending at state capital in Montgomery. Hosea Williams and John Lewis were the leader of the group and the March path was across Edmund Pettus Bridge, where we came face to face with hundreds of state troopers, and their stood Sheriff Clark and Major John Cloud who ordered us to break up. I was scared but stood my ground with the rest of the group because I believed in what we were doing. So the troopers were ordered to advance, and a white mob of people cheered on the troopers and we were attacked with clubs and tear gas. As marcher tried to get away they were chased down and beaten. The whole thing was scary and marcher were hurt and sick but it did get shown on television throughout America with many people becoming mad. The action of trooper being violence against non-violent protesters ended up being called bloody Sunday.

        President Johnson speak to Congress on March 15, 1965 he aligned himself with the protestors in Selma on national television and said that the negroes were marching for a cause to bring to light the narrow-mindedness and unfairness that was happening to all their people. The next day another group of black people submitted a plan to march to Judge Frank M. Johnson who gave his approval to march and ordered the local law enforcement not to hassle or bullying us marchers.

        So on March 21 we were going to march in a federally sanctioned march, so the group left Selma and we walked hand in hand by the hundreds with federalized Alabama National Guardsmen and agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. We walked between 7 to 17 miles in a day and we had supporter bringing us food and water and let us camp out in their yards. We had black celebrities come out and entertain us and that help to keep everyone upbeat and it encourage me to keep going. The march was approved to let 300 marcher stretch over two lane highway, but our group just kept getting bigger and the number grow to over 25,000 on the last day of the march, and Assistant Attorneys General John Doar and Ramsay Clark, as well as former Assistant Attorney General Burke Marshall also marched with our group.



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