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Sunday, April 13, 2008
posted by My Klob | 8:42 PM | permalink
Wednesday, Oct. 05, 1983

THE NATION

CIVIL RIGHTS The Central Point

Selma is a city of 29,500 people—14,400 whites, 15,100 Negroes. Its voting rolls are 99% white, 1% Negro. More than a city, Selma is a state of mind. "Selma," says a guidebook on Alabama, "is like an old-fashioned gentlewoman, proud and patrician, but never unfriendly." But the symbol of Selma is Sheriff James Clark, 43, a bullyboy segregationist who leads a club-swinging, mounted posse of deputy volunteers, many of them Ku Klux Klansmen. It was in Selma, four years ago, that the Federal Government filed its first voting-rights suit, but court processes are slow, and Selma Negroes remain unregistered.

Selma seemed a natural target to Martin Luther King. He rounded up hundreds of Negroes at a time, led them on marches to the county courthouse to register to vote. Always, Clark awaited them, either turning them away or arresting them for contempt of court, truancy, juvenile delinquency and parading without a permit. In seven weeks, Clark jailed no fewer than 2,000 men, women and children, including King, who dramatized the situation by refusing to make bond for four days. Still the Negroes came, singing "We shall overcome." In reply, Sheriff Clark pinned a button on his shirt reading "Never!" The city's mood grew ever uglier.

King called for a march from Selma to the state capitol at Montgomery, 50 miles away. King planned to lead the march himself, but at the last minute was persuaded by aides to stay at his Atlanta headquarters for his safety's sake.

Ignoring an order from Governor Wallace forbidding the march, 650 Negroes and a few whites filed through the back streets of Selma, and headed for the Edmund Pettus Bridge, which crosses the Alabama River.

On U.S. Highway 80, 400 yards beyond the bridge, was a phalanx of 60 state cops. Suddenly the clubs started swinging. From the sidelines, white townspeople raised their voices in cheers and whoops. Joined by possemen and deputies, the patrolmen waded into the screaming mob. Now came the sound of canisters being fired. A Negro screamed: "Tear gas!" Within seconds the highway was swirling with white and yellow clouds of smoke, raging with the cries of men. Choking, bleeding, the Negroes fled in all directions while the whites pursued them. The mounted men uncoiled bull whips and lashed out viciously as the horses' hoofs trampled the fallen. " O.K., nigger!" snarled a posseman, flailing away at a running Negro woman. "You wanted to march—now march!"

"Please! No!" begged a Negro as a cop flailed away with his club. "My God, we're being killed!" cried another. The Negroes staggered across the bridge and made for the church, chased by the sheriffs deputies and the horsemen. All told, 78 Negroes required hospital treatment for injuries.

Rarely has public opinion reacted so spontaneously and with such fury. In Detroit, Mayor Jerome Cavanaugh and Michigan's Governor George Romney led a protest parade of 10,000 people. President Johnson publicly declared that he "deplored the brutality." And in Atlanta, Martin Luther King announced that as a "matter of conscience and in an attempt to arouse the deepest concern of the nation," he was "compelled" to lead another march from Selma to Montgomery.

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2 Comments:


Dya think that's really a possibility all the talk about a McCain/Giuliani ticket? That might get me out to the polls, depending on whether Giuliani understands the economy or not.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at April 14, 2008 at 12:02 PM  


Anonymous, Oh yes, Rudy does understand economy. He will endoring tax cuttings and increased spending, just like the current Administration. He will be amazed in bringing our economy state down on our head. Really!

This is wrong post to put this comment under, anyway.

What I want to say about this post is that this is what I am afraid we will see from Obama Administration. We will see Selma situations throughout the country when Obama tries to push the bills giving Blacks super-rights, that is, rights above Whites and all other groups, only to see those bills contested in the US Capitol. The Blacks (those who follow Obama blindly) will demand that these bills be passed. And many whites will arise in angry for those (remember, they are "bitter").




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