Selma bids farewell to oldest surviving Foot Soldier

Published 6:19 am Tuesday, January 30, 2024

The oldest surviving Foot Soldier was officially laid to rest on Jan. 27.

George Sallie passed away on Jan. 18. His funeral service was held on Jan. 27 at the Freewill Christian Church.

Before Sallie’s burial at the Pineview Memorial Gardens by Aubrey Larkin’s Lewis Brothers Funeral Home, his body was carried over the Edmund Pettus Bridge by a horse carriage.

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The ride across the historic bridge symbolized where Sallie was beaten on March 7, 1965, a day forever known as “Blood Sunday,” which led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Sallie, 94, was remembered at his memorial service by city officials and friends.

“Mr. Sallie will be long remembered for his contribution to the Voting Rights Movement,” said Selma Mayor James Perkins Jr.

“Sallie walked across the Edmund Pettus Bridge alongside two Presidents, Barack Obama and Joe Biden, who sent a letter praising Sallie’s historic legacy. In the letter, Biden commended George Sallie for crossing the bridge with him on Bloody Sunday last year, for still marching for freedom and for voting rights and for human rights at the age of 94. His spirit is still marching for freedom.”

Former State Senator Hank Sanders said Sallie always stood up for racial injustice and never gave up on the battle.

“George Sallie was a Foot Soldier for voting rights,” Sanders said. “George Sallie was a Foot Soldier for freedom. George Sallie was a fighter for rights.  A fighter for good. A fighter in lifting others. A fighter in protecting others. And he educated anyone who came on the power of freedom and the need to fight for that freedom. He kept fighting for freedom until the last days of his life.”

Selma City Council President Billy Young called Sallie an inspiring figure, with a legacy that will last forever.

“Mr. Sallie was truly an inspiration and his work helped change the direction of this entire nation,” Young said. “Rest well Mr. Sallie and thank you Sir for your commitment to civil rights.”

Selma native Queen E. Jackson said Sallie serves as a reminder of the sacrifices made for freedom and something that local residents should never give up on.