In 1865 the thirteenth amendment abolished slavery and involuntary servitude.1 This amendment was revolutionary by granting freedom to the slaves, initiating the concept of racial equality. However, it did not grant African Americans the right to vote, nor could this amendment prevent discrimination and mistreatment of African Americans. Due to the continuing discrimination and injustice, the suffrage movement gained momentum.
African Americans had gained their freedom but not the right to vote. The ability to vote would afford greater equality with their oppressors. Equality was something that many African Americans were willing to die for; many as martyrs. Resistance campaigns emerged ...view middle of the document...
Mack’s Café was the establishment in which the protest marchers took refuge from the troopers.6 This resulted in the peaceful activist Jimmy Lee Jackson being murdered by a state trooper after he physically protected his mother from being beaten at Mack’s Café.6
Over six hundred marchers led by the SCLC and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, SNCC, gathered in Selma to begin another solidarity march in protest.4 This march also began as another nonviolent campaign but unfortunately resulted in mayhem. The marchers were barred from continuing their journey after crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge by Alabama State Troopers and mounted police.4 A participant, Reverend Williams, attempted to reason with the officers peacefully. Shoving matches ensued, and the carnage began. Officers beat the unarmed marchers with clubs and fired tear gas into the crowd of people.4 The number of persons hospitalized varied in reports from seventeen to fifty; one woman, Amelia Boynton, was nearly beaten to death.4
The media coverage of this event was televised not only across the United States but also around the world.3 The violence was horrifying and shocking to many Americans who were unaware of the struggles for freedom in the South.3 The aggressive actions toward unarmed citizens caused heated debates as well as support for the Civil Rights Movement.4 American leaders had to take resolute action to bring peace to the nation.
Dr. King roused the national support for another march. The SCLC attempted procurement of a court order to allow the march to Montgomery; it was denied.4 The march took place nonetheless on March 9, 1965 and was known as "Turnaround Tuesday."4 After crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge, the 2,500 marchers were met again by state police officers. In order to stay within the law, the marchers knelt, prayed, and ultimately retreated, without confrontation.7
The members of the SNCC wanted more radical action, but continued to approach the situation in a peaceful manner.4 Dissonance began to grow between the SCLC and the SNCC due to dissent over appropriate action. The right to vote was still denied to African Americans. Dr. King fortunately was able to stabilize the discordance despite growing pessimism among the constituents.
The last and final protest march for the right to vote took place on March 21, 1965.8 The 54 mile march from Selma, Alabama to Montgomery, Alabama was led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Under federal protection, eight thousand nonviolent demonstrators successfully completed the march to Montgomery by March 25, 1965.8 In Montgomery the marchers were met with a "Stars for Freedom" rally, organized by sympathetic white people.
The three Selma to Montgomery marches as a composite represented the climax of the Civil Rights Movement. They occurred over a span of three weeks.8 The marches were a testament to the perseverance and verve of the African Americans to overcome racial inequalities. Eventually they were...