By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Thursday the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed the bi-partisan resolution commemorating the Historic Selma to Montgomery Marches of 1965. The resolution was sponsored by Alabama Congresswomen Terri A. Sewell (D) from Selma and Martha Roby (R) from Montgomery. The resolution directs the Office of the Historian of the United States House of Representatives to compile oral histories from current and former Members of Congress involved in the historic Selma to Montgomery marches as well as the Civil Rights movement. The press release said that the documents will be used to expand and augment the historic record for public dissemination and education.
Rep. Sewell said, “We are preserving a significant part of the legacy of this time in American history by documenting the collective stories and experiences of Members of Congress who were instrumental in the fight for Civil Rights,” said Rep. Sewell. “It is such an honor to introduce this resolution commemorating the historic events that took place in Birmingham, Selma and Montgomery. As a Selma native, it is a full circle moment for me to represent the 7th Congressional District of Alabama that embodies this rich history. I look forward to the collection of these oral histories that will preserve such a transformative period in American history.”
Rep. Roby on the House said, “Today, I am proud to join with Terri Sewell, another Alabama Freshman Member, to offer House Resolution 562, an initiative that will preserve a collection of accounts from Members involved in the historic and annual marches from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.” “The oral histories preserved through this resolution will memorialize the symbolic events that changed the direction of the Civil Rights Movement.”
Congresswoman Roby said, “What took place during three historic marches in Alabama over a three-week period in 1965 proved to be a powerful transformation in American history. The courageous actions of so many moved our country out of an era of misguided actions.” “Participants marched towards a unified goal – to provide equal voting rights for all Americans. The first march on March 7, 1965, remains, without a doubt, one of the worst demonstrations of racial violence. Participants peacefully marching were met by a brutal and aggressive police force.”
Rep. Roby continued, “This violence was captured by the news and broadcast to family-rooms all over the nation. It quickly delivered a message to a racially divided country of the unforeseen consequences caused by segregation. Such shameless violent actions unleashed on nonviolent marchers revealed the immediate need for equal rights for citizens.” “Without a doubt, the days that racial voting laws were enforced by our country were among the darkest and least honorable for this nation. Even today, our country is still repairing from the wrongs inflicted decades ago from racial segregation.” “If it were not for the unwavering courage of those marching for civil freedoms, our country would be very different than the way we know it today. Their brave actions will be forever memorialized by the Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights Trail.” “Our younger generations today did not witness first-hand the historic demonstrations that forged a unified nation. Myself included. Therefore, it is important to record the testimonies in order to reveal the scope and the relevance of these civil rights events.” “I am proud to introduce this resolution with Rep. Sewell to preserve the history of our democracy.” “Those marching for equality were among the many patriots that envision a better America – one free from racial discrimination.”
Congresswoman Sewell said, “As a Selma, Alabama native, I am proud and humbled to introduce this bi-partisan congressional resolution acknowledging the historical significance of the Selma to Montgomery marches, which led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.” “This resolution ensures the preservation of the historical recollections of countless freedom fighters who served as members of Congress, such as my esteemed colleague Rep. John Lewis.”
Congresswoman Terri Sewell represents the 7th Congressional District including Selma where much of the 1965 events took place.
Local police and Alabama State Troopers, under the orders of then Governor George C. Wallace (D) from Barbour County, attacked 600 voting rights protestors on March 7, 1965 (“Bloody Sunday”) forcing them back across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. A week later thousands of marchers, led by Martin Luther King Jr. completed that march this time protected by 2000 U.S. Army and National Guard troops.
Congresswoman Martha Roby represents Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District. Both women are in their first term in the United States Congress
To see Congresswoman Roby’s press release:
To see Congresswoman Sewell’s press release