1965 March 21

Selma-to-Montgomery Voting Rights March Begins Again


The march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, to demand voting rights for African-Americans had been blocked by police brutality on the infamous “Bloody Sunday” on March 7, 1965. After a series of court battles, the march began again on this day with 3,000 marchers.

When themarch reached Montgomery, on March 25, 1965, it had grown to 25,000 marchers. Meanwhile, on March 15, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson gave his famous voting rights speech (“The American Promise”). Johnson signed the historic Voting Rights Act into law on August 6, 1965.

It took several years for the law to be fully implemented, but when it was it enfranchised African American voters across the south, especially in the deep south states of Alabama and Mississippi, and effected a political revolution, with African Americans  being elected for the first time as sheriffs, mayors, city council members, school board members, and members of Congress.

Read: David Garrow, Protest at Selma: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (1978)

View the March on YouTube:

Don’t Miss the Acclaimed Film: Selma (2015)

View a timeline on the history of the Voting Rights Act: https://www.aclu.org/timeline-history-voting-rights-act

Learn more: Ari Berman, Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America (2015)

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