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Lewis remembers 'Bloody Sunday' march, beatings

The Rev. Jesse Jackson, center, leads a group of marchers across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., Sunday, in a recreation of the start of the 1965 civil rights march to Montgomery.

Associated Press

The Rev. Jesse Jackson, center, leads a group of marchers across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., Sunday, in a recreation of the start of the 1965 civil rights march to Montgomery.

SELMA, Ala. — Georgia Congressman John Lewis strolled to the middle of the Edmund Pettus Bridge on Sunday and remembered the incident 45 years ago when he and other marchers were beaten on the day known as "Bloody Sunday."

Lewis spoke about the beating he and other marchers received during the 1965 march. He then joined about 10,000 in a recreation of the 1965 march. Marchers included Civil Rights foot soldiers and civil rights leaders including the Rev. Jesse Jackson.

Also Sunday in Washington, President Barack Obama marked the 45th anniversary of "Bloody Sunday" by praising "these heroes" who marched into history and endured beatings by Alabama state troopers at the start of their landmark voting rights trek.

The nation's first black president said that despite all the progress since "that terrible day in Selma," more still needs to be done.

Marchers were a few blocks into their Selma-to-Montgomery march on March 7, 1965, when they were beaten by troopers on the bridge.

The march was later completed under federal protection, with Martin Luther King Jr. leading it. It led to passage of the Voting Rights Act, which opened Southern polling places to blacks and ended all-white government.

Also Sunday, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, ex-wife of former South African President Nelson Mandela, was the keynote speaker at the Martin and Coretta Scott King Unity Breakfast in Selma. Madikizela-Mandela told the 500-plus audience at Wallace Community College in Selma that no American place in the civil rights struggle was more important than Selma.

Civil rights efforts to intensify in schools

The federal Department of Education plans to intensify its civil rights enforcement efforts in schools around the country, including a deeper look at issues ranging from programs for immigrant students learning English to equal access to a college preparatory courses. Education Secretary Arne Duncan plans to outline the department's plans in a speech delivered today in Alabama to commemorate the 45th anniversary of "Bloody Sunday."

Lewis remembers 'Bloody Sunday' march, beatings 03/07/10 [Last modified: Sunday, March 7, 2010 11:44pm]
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