Activists Honor the Anniversary of 'Bloody Sunday'

Speeches focused on the ongoing fight for voting rights.

Posted: 03/10/2014 08:17 AM EDT

Thousands of civil rights supporters and activists commemorated the anniversary of "Bloody Sunday" on March 9 to honor the marchers who were beaten and gassed by law enforcement officers as they crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, 49 years ago to build support for the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Many of the speeches this year focused on the impact that last year's Supreme Court ruling has had on the key provisions in the landmark legislation.

"I'm very concerned because it is ironic that the state that helped to give us so much, has temporarily set up a scenario to take it away. That we must change," Martin Luther King III said in a speech, the Associated Press reports.

Rev. William Barber, the leader of the Moral Mondays movement in North Carolina that has begun spreading across Southern states, also spoke at the event.

“Every voting right, every opportunity, every taste of freedom has come through the blood,” Barber said. “We have to say, 'Wait a minute, the Voting Rights Act was signed in blood, and when you mess with it because it’s a blood document, it brings us to life.'"

The city has already begun preparations for the 50th anniversary of the historic march. And one of the oldest marchers, who participated in the original event, was in attendance.

“I remember the beating,” 102-year-old Amelia Boynton Robinson told the Montgomery Advertiser as she waited to be pushed across the bridge in her wheelchair. “l definitely will be back next year.”

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Follow Joyce Jones on Twitter: @BETpolitichick

 (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

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