Atlanta: 9:30 am
Columbia: 3 pm
Raleigh: 9:30 am
Richmond: 3:00 pm
Rally in Virginia Evening
Senate Bldg: 10 am
House Bldg: After Senate Bldg
Members of the Save OurSelves Movement for Justice and Democracy (SOS) and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) will hold a rally on the steps of Alabama’s Capitol Building today at 1 p.m. to discuss voting rights and other issues … Continue reading
Two of SOS’s founding members, Alabama State Sen. Hank Sanders and Attorney/Poet Faya Rose Toure, have written their perspectives in the New York Times on Selma — its storied past, its stagnated present and their future in the city they’ve fought to love:
SELMA, Ala. — The memory is as powerful as if it were yesterday. On March 25, 1965, tens of thousands of us gathered before the Alabama State Capitol, the endpoint of a five-day, 54-mile march from Selma to Montgomery. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called out, “How long?” and the crowd responded, “Not long!” The moment was electric. We believed it would not be long before the right to vote was deeply rooted and bearing fruit in America.
In one sense, we were right. The Voting Rights Act, passed just months after the Selma marches, banned the discriminatory voting practices that many southern states had enacted following the Civil War. Over time, the Act enabled millions of African-Americans to register to vote, and for decades following its passage, voting rights continued to slowly expand. But in another sense we are still waiting. Either Dr. King was wrong or “not long” is biblical, measured in generations.
We came to Selma in 1971, newly married and fresh out of Harvard Law School. Our intentions were to stay for five years. We were sure that by then Dr. King’s vision of voting rights would have been realized. Over 40 years later, not only are the fruits scarce, but the roots are shallow and feeble.
Celebrations, commemorations and movies make people feel good, but the reality is that voting rights have been rolled back dramatically in recent years. The Supreme Court’s 2013 ruling in Shelby County v. Holder effectively gutted the Voting Rights Act, striking down a central provision requiring certain states, including Alabama, to obtain federal clearance before changing voting procedures. Since then, several states have limited access to voting by blacks and others. Today, all Alabama voters must show photo identification. In Alabama and other states, this I.D. must be government-issued. These policies, which disproportionately affect minority, poor and elderly voters who are less likely to possess government-issued I.D.s, are the 21st-century equivalent of the Jim Crow-era poll tax and literacy test.
Dr. King understood that voting would be the last right granted to African-Americans because it was the most powerful. Indeed, if we had better understood our history, we would not have been surprised that “not long” has stretched into a half-century. We did not remember that, though the 15th Amendment gave black men the right to vote in 1870, Congress in 1894 repealed legislation enacted in 1870 and 1871 that provided robust and necessary enforcements of that right. In a sense, in 1965 we were trying to get back to where we briefly were in America in the 1870s.
But what of Selma, the worldwide symbol of voting rights and freedom?
As Dr. King urged, we marched on the ballot boxes. In 1965 there were 300 registered African-American voters and zero African-American elected officials in Dallas County, where Selma is located; in 2015 there were 19,862 registered African-American voters and 19 African-American elected officials. But we greatly underestimated the power of those who control the voting process.
It took over 35 years to dislodge Joseph T. Smitherman, who was mayor of Selma on March 7, 1965, the day known as Bloody Sunday, when lawmen disrupted the first attempted Selma-to-Montgomery march, brutally attacking peaceful demonstrators. Today most elected officials in Selma are African-American. But in Dallas County — which is about 70 percent black — whites hold six of the seven countywide elected positions. Until 2010, eight African-Americans chaired meaningful committees in the Alabama State Senate. Now we are isolated minorities without a single position of statewide influence.
Some progress has been made in the justice system, though real justice remains far removed. The Selma mayor and police chief are African-American, and Dallas County has an African-American district attorney. But black men are often held in jail for extended periods on multimillion dollar bonds, and police brutality and profiling of the poor remain far too prevalent.
In Dallas County, the number of African-Americans living at poverty level is nearly eight times that of whites. Too many African-Americans in Selma still live in substandard housing. And while the law no longer requires it, nearly all African-American children here still attend schools that are effectively segregated. Our granddaughter graduates from high school in Selma this year, and there was not one white child in any of her classes from first through 12th grade.
Despite our city’s fame as a cornerstone of the Civil Rights movement, African-Americans in Selma who dare to discuss these issues openly and honestly are called racists, haters and worse.
Yes, we marched on the ballot boxes. But for the tens of thousands of African-Americans in Selma, life, as Langston Hughes said, “ain’t been no crystal stair.” Better off is not equal.
We came to Selma over four decades ago; today we are both in our seventies. When we arrived, we agreed that every five years we would decide anew whether to stay or leave. Each time we chose to stay. The choice is coming up again next year. What shall we do? The struggle continues because the challenges remain great.
Hank Sanders has served as a member of the Alabama State Senate since 1983. Faya Rose Toure is an attorney and civil rights activist.
The annual Bridge Crossing Jubilee is more than a commemoration of “Bloody Sunday” and the movement for voting rights 50 years ago. Its activities reflect the on-going nature of the Freedom Movement. Modern-day activists and leaders who are carrying the torch for a new generation discuss strategies to fight new versions of the same old issues of discrimination and equality under the law.
SOS has uploaded the most recent and complete schedule of events for the Selma50 schedule of the Bridge Crossing Jubilee.
5:00 pm – 5:45 pm Mayor’s Welcome Reception, Performing Arts Center, 1000 Selma Av, Mayor George Evans
5:45 pm—6:45 pm Play: The Life of Jimmie Lee Jackson, Performing Arts Center, 1000 Selma Ave.
7:00 pm—9:00 pm Memorial for Martyrs of the Movement & Mass Meeting, Tabernacle Baptist Church, 1431 Broad St. Speakers: Rev. William Barber, Dr. Bernice King, and Rev. Jeremiah Wright
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm Miss Jubilee Pageant, School of Discovery, 1200 Water Ave, Fee: $5
6:30 am Jubilee Golf Tournament, Valley Grande Golf Course, Dr Leroy Maxwell, 334-872-2321, $75
8:00 am—9:00 am Women & the Civil Rights Movement: A Conversation, Dr. Adelaide Sanford, Diane Nash, Dr. Thelma Adair, Faya Toure’, Wallace Community College (WWCS), 3000 Earl Goodwin Pkwy.
9:00 am – 3:00 pm Education Summit, WWCS, 3000 Earl Goodwin Parkway (Registration 8:00 am – 9:00- am)
9:00 am – 12:00 noon How to Value Black Lives: The Case for Emotional Emancipation, Community Healing Network, Inc, Performing Arts Center, 1000 Selma Ave.
9:00 am—12 noon Economic Empowerment Summit, Presented by Black Women’s Roundtable & Women of Will, Wallace Community College, 3000 Goodwin Pkwy, Sheila Tyson, Convener
11:00 am – 1-30 pm Public Hearings on Poverty: A Renewal of Dr. King’s Poor People’s Campaign, Brown Chapel, 410 Martin Luther King St.
9:00 am – 11:00 am Children’s Sojourn, School of Discovery, 400 Wash St, Shiloh Baptist Church, 1416 Selma Av, $7
10:00 am – 2:00 pm Invisible Giants Story Telling, Selma City Schools
1:30 pm – 3:30 pm Building a Movement From the Ground Up, Rev William Barber, Brown Chapel, 410 M.L. King St.
3:15 pm – 3:45 pm Induction into Legal Guardians Hall of Fame, National Voting Rights Museum, 6 Hwy 80 East,
3:45 pm – 4:15 pm Induction into the Women’s Hall of Fame, National Voting Rights Museum, 6 Hwy 80 East
4:00 pm – 10:00 pm Film Festival, Performing Arts Center, 1000 Selma Ave.
5:00 pm – 7:00 pm Mock Trial, Concordia College, Auditorium, 1712 Broad St
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm A Public Conversation: “Chaos or Community?” Concordia College, Auditorium, 1712 Broad Street. Speakers: Benjamin Chavis, Dick Gregory, Maxine Waters and Rev. Jeremiah Wright
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm “Stomp Out to Vote” Step Show, Wallace Community College Gymnasium,, 3000 Earl Goodwin Pkwy, Fee: $12
SERIES OF POWERFUL WORKSHOPS ON THE STATUS OF CIVIL & HUMAN RIGHTS 50 YEARS LATER
9:00 am – 10:30 am, Wallace Community College, 3000 Earl Goodwin Parkway
To Fix It Now; Christine Freeman, Executive Director, Middle District of Alabama Federal Defender Program; Kevin Butler, Federal Public Defender; Northern District of Alabama; Carlos Williams, Executive Director, Southern District of Alabama Federal Defenders Organization
·The Role of Education in the Liberation of a People 50 Years Later, Tony Browder, Dr. Johnnetta Cole, Dr. Robert White, Dr. Adelaide Sanford
SERIES OF POWERFUL WORKSHOPS ON THE STATUS OF CIVIL & HUMAN RIGHTS 50 YEARS LATER
2:00 pm – 5:00 pm, Dallas County Courthouse, 105 Lauderdale Street OR Dallas County Court House Annex, 102 Church Street
4:30 pm—5:00 pm •The Charge: Fighting for the Future and the Soul of the Nation, Rev. William Barber, Moral Monday Movement, Courthouse, 2nd Floor
INDEPENDENT WORKSHOPS & PANELS—
Times and Locations As Indicated Below
9:00 am—11:00 am • Voting Rights & Elected Officials of Color from 1965 to 2015, and Beyond, Joint Center for Political Economic Affairs, Black Belt African American Genealogical & Historical Society, Selma Public Library, 1103 Selma Ave.
2:00 pm, approximately • Voting Rights Workshop—Keeping America’s Promise: Advancing Democracy, AND
Voting Rights Act @ 50 Unity Reception NAACP Legal Defense Fund Lawyers and Special Guests, Brown Chapel, 410 Martin Luther King Jr. St. (immediately following President Barack Obama’s Address)
See Website · State of the Black Race Post-Obama, Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law,
10:00 am– 12:00 noon • The Drug War: Its Role in Mass Incarceration & Disenfranchisement of African Americans, Pastor Kenneth Glasgow, TOPS, Asha Bandele/DPA, Dorsey Nunn, Daryl Atkinson, First Baptist Church, 709 Martin Luther King St, Selma
12 noon – 2:00 pm • Southern People’s Initiative—Two Year Action Plan, Stephanie Guilloud & Emery Wright, Pastor, Project South, Kenneth Glasgow, TOPS, First Baptist Church, 709 Martin Luther King St.
5:00 pm-8:00 pm AND Welcome Reception & Dinner Pastor David Perry, New Selmont churuch, 215 Selmont Avenue.
2:00 pm—4:30 pm · LIVING LEGENDS SHARE THEIR WISDOM ABOUT THE CHALLENGES OF TODAY: Panelists: Claudette Colvin, Dorothy Cotton, Dr. Bernard Lafayette, Worth Long, Robert “Bob” Moses, Diane Nash, Dr. C.T. Vivian, Harry Belafonte, Selma Convention Center, 411 Washington St.
8:00 am – 9:30 am Foot Soldiers Breakfast, RB Hudson Middle School, 1701 Summerfield Road, $5
9:00 am – 10:30 am Jubilee Parade, Selma High School to Dallas Ave on Broad St.
10:45 am—11:15 pm Battle of the Bands, School of Discovery Athletic Field, 400 Washington St.
11:00 am – 8:00 pm Jubilee Street Festival & Music (Blues, Gospel, Hip Hop, R&B), Broad & Dallas, $12 Advance, $20 Gate
2:00 pm 4:00 pm Turn Up Youth Summit, School of Discovery, 400 Washington Avenue
11:00 am—10:00 pm Film Festival, Performing Arts Center, 1000 Selma Avenue
2:00 pm – 3:00 pm Giving Voice and Breath to Our Young People, Sponsored by the Griot Collective, Elders’ House, 1304 Water Ave. (Free)
1:30 pm — 3:30 pm Fruits of the Labor Luncheon, Wallace Community College, $25
5:00 pm Reflections and Reception, Sponsored by the Griot Collective, Elders’ House, 1304 Water Ave., (Free)
5:00 pm – 6:30 pm Meet the Author Book Signing, Convention Center, 411 Washington St. (details in Jubilee newspaper)
7:00 pm –10:00 pm Freedom Flame Awards Gala, WWCS, 3000 Earl Goodwin Parkway, $100 (table $800.)
5:30 pm –6:30 pm Pre-Dinner Reception for those with Gala tickets at Selma Convention Center, 211 Washington St: Entertainment, Wine Sip & Cheese
7:30 am – 9:30 am Martin Luther & Coretta Scott King Unity Breakfast, WCCS, 3000 Earl Goodwin Parkway–$75 (table $750)
9:00 am—1:00 pm Emerging Leaders Breakfast, Performing Arts Center, 1000 Selma Ave.
10:00 am – 1:00 am Sunday Morning Services, Various Churches in Selma
5:00 pm—8:00 pm Film Festival, Performing Arts Center, 1000 Selma Avenue
10:30 am – 12:00 noon Induction into Hall of Resistance, AAECW Museum, 1410 Water Ave
12:30 pm – 2:30 pm Pre-March Rally, Foot of Edmund Pettus Bridge, West/City Side
2:30 pm – 3:30 pm Bridge Crossing & Backward March, over Edmund Pettus Bridge
3:30 pm – until Post March Rally & Salute to Foot Soldiers, Foot of Edmund Pettus Bridge, East Side, AND
5:30 pm – 1st Show Play: Don’t Count Me Out, Life Change Productions, Callie M. Willis, Writer/Producer, School of
8:00 pm –2nd Show Discovery, 400 Washington St., $10
7:30 pm — Play: Tell the World About This—Lest We Forget: Featuring Martin-Mahalia-The Movement,
Writer/Producer, Rosevivian Powe, LOCATION TBA.
MONDAY, MARCH 9
8:00 am Selma to Montgomery March departs Edmund Pettus Bridge: ‘Remember, Recommit, Restore”
MONDAY, program at 1st Baptist Church, Selma
THURSDAY–Celebration Rally, Macedonia Church
FRIDAY–Rally at the Alabama State Capitol
FRIDAY, MARCH 13
11:00 am March Starts at Calhoun Food on West Fairview Ave.
HOURS: March 5-9, 2015, 9:00 am—6:00 pm ·National Voting Rights Museum & Institute
Updated: 3/1/15–Schedule subject to change. For up-to-date information, go to the website: www.selma50.com