“Bloody Sunday” was commemorated at Selma with the same zeal and zest as every year, but this year the process was a little different thanks to the Covid. The 56th commemoration of the event was held virtually, a stark contrast from past anniversaries. Further, for the first time in 56 years, the legendary John Lewis was missing from the commemoration.
John Lewis – the civil rights icon and an attendee of the “Bloody Sunday” at the Edmund Bridge passed away last year at the age of 80. All these years he used to lead the event and recall the memories attached to it.
The Bloody Sunday at Selma is observed every year in memory of the March 7th, 1965 proceedings when hundreds of civil rights advocates marched towards Montgomery, crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge in support of the voting rights for the black people.
The march turned bloody when they were met with the Alabama State Trooper on the east side of the bridge headed by the Sheriff. The civil rights soldiers were brutally beaten and wounded converting the peaceful march into carnage.
Images released on that day triggered a huge outcry from the nation especially the black community and it forced Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to call people to Selma and march again towards Montgomery. The march was conducted again after two weeks under the leadership of Martin Luther King Jr and this time they successfully reached Montgomery.
A virtual re-enactment of the Edmund Pettus Bridge crossing was conducted. There is a historic African Methodist Episcopal church known as the Brown Chapel which served as the Headquarters for the Selma movement. A service takes place annually where the speakers express their thoughts before re-enacting the bridge crossing.
The event was broadcasted live on the Selma Bridge Crossing Jubilee website. The aerial footage was telecast live showing small groups of people wearing masks while walking across the bridge. It also showcased a group of people stopping in the middle of the U.S. Highway 80 to kneel down and pray. It is the exact location where the brutal assault took place in 1965.
The Georgian congressman John Lewis was immensely missed throughout the commemoration. His void cannot be filled. He was one of the marchers who had received serious injuries at the hands of the Alabama soldiers. Each year thousands of people come to Edmund Pettus Bridge to honor the sacrifices made by those civil rights soldiers, and they will continue to do so to let the world know how important equality rights are.