“Bloody Sunday” is more than a moment in history for Rep. John Lewis. The Congressman recounted his personal Selma story and photos on Twitter Saturday (March 7), in addition to speaking at the Selma 50 event.
“50 yrs ago today, we set out to march from Selma to Montgomery to dramatize to the nation that people of color were denied the right to vote,” Lewis recalled. “Before we left a little church called Brown Chapel AME, we knelt and joined together in prayer. About 600 of us left Brown Chapel AME to walk in an orderly, peaceful, nonviolent fashion.”
As the group made it to the Edmund Pettus Bridge, they were met by “a sea” of Alabama state troopers. Lewis remembers Alabama State Trooper Major John Cloud telling them to shut down the “unlawful” march and giving only “three minutes" for the crowd to disperse.
March leader Hosea Williams requested time for prayer, at which point the major ordered troopers to “advance.”
“They came towards us beating us with nightsticks, bullwhips, trampling us with horses, releasing the teargas. I was hit in the head by a state trooper with a nightstick. My legs went out from under me.”
Lewis remembers seeing “death” that night. “I thought I was going to die,” he continued, explaining that he had a concussion on the bridge and can’t remember how “we made it back.”
The march brought about the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and, as Lewis pointed out, stands as a reminder of the progression of civil rights in this country. “When people tell me nothing has changed, I say come walk in my shoes and I will show you change.”
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(Photo: David Tulis/UPI /LANDOV)