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Byrne Supports Honoring Voting Rights Marches

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Wednesday, March 4, Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-Montrose) announced in a statement that a bipartisan resolution led by US Congresswoman Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio) commemorating the 1965 voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The resolution would call for the issuance of a postage stamp to commemorate the 1965 civil rights marches from Selma to Montgomery. Congresswoman Joyce Beatty was joined by over 102 of her colleagues as original co-sponsors of the resolution, including Alabama Congress members Bradley Byrne and Terri Sewell (D-Selma).   

Rep. Beatty said, “This resolution highlights a pivotal movement in America’s history, the Selma Voting Rights March that brought together Americans to march from Selma to Montgomery 50 years ago. They marched with a truth—that all Americans share the same rights.  Out of these efforts we passed the Voting Rights Act, a pivotal law that helped many obtain the right to vote.”

Rep. Byrne said, “The Selma to Montgomery marches, which shaped the Civil Rights movement, represent a difficult but significant time in our nation’s history. I am proud to partner with my colleagues in a bipartisan manner to ensure the 50th anniversary receives the proper recognition it deserves.”

Rep. Terri Sewell said, “The Edmund Pettus Bridge was the portal through which America shed its dark past and marched to a brighter future. This bipartisan bill honors the significance of the historic Selma to Montgomery marches, and the Foot Soldiers who forced our nation to live up to its ideals of equality and justice for all Americans.” Congresswoman Terri Sewell grew up in Selma and represents most of the 54 mile march route from Selma to Montgomery today in Alabama’s Seventh Congressional District.

Rep. Beatty said, “Next week Democrats and Republicans will march united in Selma once again to celebrate the 50th anniversary of these marches. It is my hope that as we remember the struggles of discrimination and inequality we lift our hearts and unite to find bridges to equality and justice.”

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Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas) who also co-sponsored the resolution said, “America celebrates our heroes. These brave folks stood for what’s right and changed our country for the better. This is an excellent way to recognize them.”

In 1965 voting rights marchers attempted to march from Selma to Montgomery. They were met by Alabama State Troopers, local law enforcement, and a White mob who brutally attacked them on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma on March 7, 1965. This day, now known as Bloody Sunday, was the first of three planned, peaceful protests from Selma to Montgomery. Undeterred Dr. Martin Luther King came to Alabama with nearly 2,500 Foot Soldiers just two days later on March 9, 1965, now known as “Turnaround Tuesday.” An estimated 8,000 Foot Soldiers left Selma on March 21, 1965, and successfully marched to Montgomery to peacefully protest restrictive voting laws that prevented Blacks from voting in the South.

The resolution is being introduced just days before the annual pilgrimage to honor the marchers. From March 6th to March 8th, both Republicans and Democrats will travel to Selma to reenact the march. Thousands are expected to be in attendance, including U.S. Presidents Barack Hussein Obama and George Walker Bush.

US Representative Martha Roby (R-Montgomery) will join colleagues to kick off the 2015 Faith and Politics Civil Rights Pilgrimage to Alabama on Friday, March 6 in Birmingham at the Civil Rights Institute. Rep. Roby will be joined by Pilgrimage Chairman Congressman John Lewis (D-Georgia) as well as fellow Pilgrimage Co-Hosts Congresswoman Terri Sewell (D), Senator Tim Scott (R-South Carolina) and Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio).

Each year the Faith and Politics Institute leads a bi-partisan group of US House and Senate leaders on pilgrimages meant to foster understanding and dialogue on important issues. This Alabama pilgrimage includes visits to Birmingham, Selma and Montgomery, three places of enormous significance in the Civil Rights Movement. Rep. Roby has worked to increase participation from Congressional colleagues. A record 23 Republican House and Senate Members are registered to participate this year’s pilgrimage.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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