Friday, March 6, 2015

The 1965 Voting Rights Act ... 'Bloody Sunday' in Selma as Told by A Minister Who Was There and Witnessed the Murder of His Fellow Minister

In early 2015 we are experiencing a rethink of the current state of American race relations and the police. The current public discussion and national soul searching is occurring 50 years after the 'Bloody Sunday' events in Selma which led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act. Perspective helps.

Those were not easy times in 1965, but they were times of progress. Of course, the same can be said of what's transpired since then and even today. The wheel of progress leading all Americans to equal opportunity turns slowly in America, and often too slowly, but its arc bends continuously in the right direction --- equal opportunity and respect for all ---- regardless of an individual's race, religion, sex, nationality or political persuasion.

While we'll never achieve perfect equality in anything, we can always strive for same in this wonderful land of opportunity. That's the real American way.

'A Call From Selma' provides first hand testimony of what happened in 1965 on that 'Bloody Sunday.' The video begins with how one minister answered the call by fellow minister Reverend Martin Luther King to come to Selma and participate in the march, and then describes the murder of his fellow marching minister.

After the tragic events unfolded that day in Selma,' in a televised appeal to the nation and Congress, President Lyndon Baines President Johnson promised that as a nation "We Shall Overcome." The Congress then promptly passed the Voting Rights Bill of 1965.

During his televised address, LBJ condemned the murder of the white minister but failed to mention the murder of Jimmie Lee Jackson, a black man who had been killed by a state trooper and who was the original inspiration for the march.

The video also notes that following the trial of the white minister's killers, the all-white jury acquitted all three white men accused of the killing.

The video is descriptive, informative and jarring.

Summing Up

The Selma story happened 50 years ago, but We the People still have much work to do with respect to making sure each American has equal opportunities and is accorded equal treatment under the law.

And let's always remember that what we are able and willing to learn about our past is that which we aren't doomed to repeat in the future.

So let's each resolve to continue to make every effort to treat each other with the respect we deserve as equal and fellow human beings.

That's my take.

Thanks. Bob.

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