Biden leads re-enactment of 1965 Selma-to-Montgomery voting rights march
SELMA, Ala. — The vice president and black leaders commemorating a famous civil rights march on Sunday said efforts to diminish the impact of blacks' votes haven't stopped in the years since the 1965 Voting Rights Act added millions to Southern voter rolls.
More than 5,000 people followed Vice President Joe Biden and Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma's annual Bridge Crossing Jubilee. The event commemorates the “Bloody Sunday” beating of voting rights marchers — including a young Lewis — by state troopers as they began a march to Montgomery in March 1965. The 50-mile march prompted Congress to pass the Voting Rights Act, which struck down impediments to voting by blacks and ended all-white rule in the South.
Biden, the first sitting vice president to participate in the annual re-enactment, said nothing shaped his consciousness more than watching TV footage of the beatings.
“We saw in stark relief the rank hatred, discrimination and violence that still existed in large parts of the nation,” he said.
Biden said marchers “broke the back of the forces of evil,” but that challenges to voting rights continue today with restrictions on early voting and voter registration drives and enactment of voter ID laws where no voter fraud has been shown.
“We will never give up or give in,” Lewis told marchers.
Martin Luther King III, whose father led the march when it resumed after Bloody Sunday, said, “We come here not to just celebrate and observe but to recommit.”
Jesse Jackson said the event had a sense of urgency because the Supreme Court heard a request on Wednesday by a mostly white Alabama county to strike down a key portion of the Voting Rights Act.
“We've had the right to vote 48 years, but they've never stopping trying to diminish the impact of the votes,” Jackson said.
Referring to the Voting Rights act, the Rev. Al Sharpton said: “We are not here for a commemoration. We are here for a continuation.”
The Supreme Court is weighing Shelby County's challenge to a portion of the law that requires states with a history of racial discrimination, mostly in the Deep South, to get approval from the Justice Department before implementing any changes in election laws. That includes everything from new voting districts to voter ID laws.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Federal injunction stops Arizona from enforcing policy of denying driver’s licenses to young immigrants
- Panel review says Secret Service ‘starved for leadership’
- All companies now on alert for hackers
- 2014 death sentences, executions plummet
- Social Security yanked from deported Nazis
- Traffic camera use upheld in Ohio
- Gettysburg national park poised to expand by 45 acres
- Federal group will aim to instill police-public trust
- Harvard study bolsters link between pollution, autism
- Attorney General Holder, Justice Department target bias against transgender employees
- West Virginia man dies after being shot with arrow in Wellsburg