It has become an annual tradition for civil rights leaders and everyday Americans to link arms and recreate the historic march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge on the day remembered as Bloody Sunday. This year Vice President Joe Biden will travel to Alabama on March 3 to commemorate the march from Selma to Montgomery. Biden also will attend the Martin and Coretta King Unity Brunch.
During the original march, which took place on March 7, 1965, to promote Black voter registration, 600 civil rights protesters were attacked by state and local policemen armed with billy clubs and tear gas, forcing them to retreat back to the church from which they'd started out.
"I thought I was going to die and just sort of had a session with myself and said this is it. I’m going to die on this bridge. I thought it was my last protest," civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis, who was just 20 at the time and savagely beaten, told BET.com last year.
In response to the brutality, which headlined newspaper and television reports, President Lyndon B. Johnson presented to Congress a bill that eventually became the Voting Rights Act of 1965, prohibiting the discriminatory practices that had prevented African-Americans from registering to vote and cast ballots.
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(Photo: AP Photo/ Kevin Glackmeyer)