Marchers from across country cross bridge

Published 9:55 pm Sunday, March 5, 2017

Marchers from across the country came to Selma this past weekend to follow in the steps of foot soldiers from the 1960s.

The annual Bridge Crossing Jubilee reenactment was held Sunday afternoon on an overcast and cool early March day.

Participants of all ages marched alongside foot soldiers from the 1965 Selma to Montgomery marches.

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Melanie Brooks, a 21-year-old student at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia, is involved with her university’s student diversity inclusion council. She said visiting Selma was “top” on her bucket list.

“We’re actually doing an alternative break trip, and we stopped here on our way to New Orleans. We knew that the Bloody Sunday commemoration march was happening, and we wanted to be involved,” Brooks said. “We’re extremely excited.”

Alton Coleman, 21, was another student who made the trip from Longwood University.

“To me, it was just a lot of history. I just felt it walking across the bridge. I guess I wasn’t expecting to feel all that,” Coleman said. “You come to this town, and there’s a lot of history here, and you can feel it as soon as you pull in to Selma.”

Dorothy Johnson of Dacula, Georgia, brought her three grandsons, ages 7, 6 and 5.

“We wanted to come just to experience what actually happened during the march. We want the kids to know the history and to know this is the reason why we can vote now,” Johnson said. “I respect and I honor everything that they did, and I want the kids to understand that.”

Johnson’s niece, Shanda Vickery, of Lawrenceville, Georgia, brought her 14-year-old son.

“It’s really good to know our history and know the struggles, so we don’t repeat,” Vickery said. “What they went through was just horrifying and sad, but at least we can celebrate them and their life and their struggles and their accomplishments.”