Candidates unite for re-enactment

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 4, 2007

The Selma Times-Journal

From all across the world, they came to Selma.

Whether to learn about the history of Bloody Sunday, see presidential candidates, Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton or to just say ‘I was there,’ Water Avenue was a sea of bodies.

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“There were better than 20,000 people,” Police Chief Jimmy Martin said.

On March 7, 1965, 600 marchers were beaten by police and State Troopers as they tried to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

“Somebody was beaten on that bridge; somebody was struck by a cattle prod; somebody died, somebody that didn’t even know my name – that I might have freedom,” said Rev. Darryl Moore, pastor of Second Missionary Baptist.

On March 4, 2007, police and State Troopers cleared the way for marchers to safely cross.

Pews at Brown Chapel, First Baptist, on Martin Luther King Street,

Tabernacle Baptist, and Ellwood were filled with congregates in anticipation of seeing one of the many great speakers, among whom were the presidential candidates.

Members of the press stood in huddles in hopes of getting “the” quote or photo.

Law enforcement was out in full force to control the massive crowd of people.

Vendors were stationed from end to end on Water Avenue and music could be heard for blocks, but louder than music was the silent sound of unity.

During the most anticipated ceremony of the entire weekend, people walked across the famous Edmund Pettus Bridge.

“As long as the commitment and dreams of those who walked across that bridge have not been fully realized, we have to keep on walking across it,” U.S. Congressman Artur Davis, D-Ala., said.

Many speakers charged America to never forget Bloody Sunday or the lives lost during the civil rights struggle which led to the passing of the Voting Rights act of 1965.

“It is here that you changed America forever,” Congressman Lewis, D-Ga., said at the Saturday’s Freedom Flame Awards. “The people in

Selma made a difference.”

Marchers kneeled at the apex of the Pettus Bridge to pray and give thanks to God for the struggle and what it brought about.

“They gave their lives,” the Rev. Rodney Brown, pastor of Tabernacle Baptist, said. “They gave their blood, sacrificed their jobs.”

People came from as far as Mali, West Africa, to Los Angeles, Calif., just to witness and be a part of the Bridge Crossing Jubilee.

“Lord, I pray we never allow the flame of the movement to go out,” Morton said.