The UMD group joined over a thousand people in the city of Selma, AL for the annual re-enactment of a key event in the civil rights movement. They participated in the 52nd anniversary of the march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge over the Alabama River in Selma. In 1965, on a day now called “Bloody Sunday,” African-Americans and others seeking voting rights tried to march to Montgomery but were attacked by police. The Selma events built momentum for passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
The UMD group listened to speakers before the march at the historic Brown Chapel, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Congresswoman Terri Sewell, Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill and North Carolina NAACP President Dr. William Barber.
National Voting Rights Museum
Reflections about Selma
“This trip has given me first hand look at what went down in the south. The Selma March was very interesting when comparing us crossing the bridge versus the violence they had to endure fifty years ago. It shows how far we have come and how far we have left to travel.” — Chaltu Hassan
“Getting to know UMD students whose roots are in Africa, as well as my peers with stories of long struggles in our many American human rights movements, culminated on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma on the 52nd anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery March. The younger folks helped me feel curiosity instead of regret and hope instead of resignation. My fellow elders reminded me that a ‘change is gonna’ come’ again.” — Steve Coll
“Marching on the Edmund Pettus Bridge with great leaders such as Jesse Jackson was AMAZING! We watched the movie Selma on the bus the previous day and it added so much meaning to the experience. I was touched by being led by BLACK Police officers while people cried, sang songs, danced, and rejoiced. We know that during the 1960s the Foot Soldiers were beaten, tear gassed, and brutally assaulted by white police officers just for trying to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge. It was a very emotional experience for me especially because I know I would not be here in the United States enjoying the rights fought for us by previous generations.” — Alberta Nkrumah
“This trip has been full of moments I didn’t expect. I sat with an elderly woman in front of the Welcome to Selma sign after crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge. She told me about crossing the bridge on Bloody Sunday and on the two following crossings with Martin Luther King, Jr. Perhaps the greatest surprise was realizing I was walking the halls of the school where Richard Wright attended and ended his formal education as valedictorian. As someone who has always wondered if I have some familial tie to him, I felt a connection there.” — Liz Wright