Yesterday, after another amazing day of research, I said goodbye to Greensboro – a town I really loved – and took Route 14 to Route 80 in Selma. Then, I came on over to Montgomery via the same route that the marchers followed just a week after police forces stopped the first marchers violently.
Of course I had heard of the terror and violence of the Edmund Pettus Bridge. I had cried over the images of John Lewis and his fellow marchers being bludgeoned as they walked. I knew this was a massive scene of violence and racism.
What I didn’t know was the strength of these people, and I’m saddened that my education – which is more comprehensive than that of many – never focused on the commitment and determination of the marchers.
First, they finished the march just 17 days after they nearly beaten to death in Selma. Secondly, Selma and Montgomery are not cities that are close together – 50 miles separates them. I cannot imagine me or anyone I know walking 50 miles to change something.
So today, as I leave Alabama, I leave with an image of people so strong that they survived slavery, that they lived through Jim Crow, and that they marched through violence and over many miles to say, “We are here. We are people. We are strong. Don’t underestimate us.”
This video is of the Selma-Montgomery March that actually reached this city where I now sit. This morning, I am going to the State House to sit and imagine them walking forward. . . I’m going to take inspiration, just as I hope you do from this video.