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President Obama to speak at Selma jubilee

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 President Barack Obama will travel to Selma, Alabama to speak at the fiftieth anniversary of the historic march from Selma to Montgomery on March 7. Tribune News Service

Alexis Winborne

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The city of Selma, Alabama, will have a celebration next month in honor of the 50th anniversary of the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery. President Barack Obama is scheduled to attend the celebration on the anniversary of “Bloody Sunday.”

Led by Martin Luther King, Jr., the march to Montgomery took place early in 1965. The Southern Christian Leadership Conference was attempting to register black voters, a constitutional right that was being denied for almost all African Americans in Selma at that time.

March 7, 1965, is sometimes called “Bloody Sunday” in reference to the beatings peaceful protesters at the hands of Alabama state troopers and local police as they attempted to cross Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge.

Despite the events of Bloody Sunday, the protesters were able to successfully complete the march to Montgomery on March 25 under the protection of the National Guard. The historic march raised awareness of the discrimination faced by black voters and as a result the Voting Rights Act was passed in August of the same year.

The official commemoration of the 50th anniversary, called the jubilee, will take place March 5 through March 9 in Selma. There are many activities and events that will take place during the jubilee. Among these are the Miss Jubilee Pageant, the Stepping for Justice Step Show, the Selma Jubilee Parade march from Selma High School to Edmund Pettus Bridge and the bridge crossing.

The people of Selma are not the only ones who appreciate the history behind the commemoration of their city.

“I believe this celebration is a wonderful thing,” said Hillary Lindsay, a junior majoring in psychology. “Knowing that people want to celebrate a remarkable event that happened during the Civil Rights Movement shows that we still care and that our past truly has paved the way to where we are today.”

This year Selma will welcome President Barack Obama to the bridge crossing on March 7.

Jake Proctor, a sophomore majoring in journalism and political science, said he believes the president’s presence will be meaningful to the residents of Selma.

“I am interested to see what all he says and participates in while he is there,” 
he said.

Plan B, Brad Pitt’s production company, partnered with Oprah Winfrey recently to produce the Academy Award and Golden Globe–nominated film “Selma.” The national attention from the movie’s release coupled with the excitement surrounding Obama’s appearance has sparked even more interest in the annual celebrations in Selma.

Jada Culver, a sophomore majoring in public relations, said the event could not have come at a more opportune time.

“With the recent stories of Mike Brown, Eric Garner and Trayvon Martin, there has been attention on racism within our country,” she said. “The Selma anniversary is a good time for some positive stories to be shown and express overcoming adversity to evoke change. I think it will be encouraging, enlightening and 
purposeful to many.”

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