January 12, 2013

As a memorial to the late President Kennedy President Lyndon Johnson with Dr. King at his side signed the Civil Rights Act of July 2, 1964 with bipartisan support.  This far-reaching civil rights measure  banned discrimination in public accommodations, guaranteed voter registration and voting rights, provided for governmental intervention to support school integration, and a ban on job discrimination by race, religion, national origin, or sex. Early in 1965 King announced a drive to enroll 3 million blacks in the South who had not registered to vote. Black citizens of Selma, Alabama experienced discrimination and intimidation when registering to vote. A march from Selma to Montgomery was planned to ask Governor Wallace to protect the black registrants was rejected. Marhers were attacked by state and local police with billy clubs, tear gas, and bull whips at the Edmund Pettus Bridge on Bloody Sunday March 7th. Watching the bloody pictures the nation roused itself for the Civil Rights  Movement. I remembered that bridge  having crossed it several times. A federal judge upheld the right of the SCLC (Southern Christian Leadership Council) to petition for redress of grievance. The state could not block marches. Arriving in Montgomery on a subsequent march King was not allowed to speak from the top of the capitol steps. Jefferson Davis stood there when taking the oath as president of the Confederate States. A gold star marks the spot. I remember standing on that very spot. King gave his speech from a temporary platform below the steps. Five months later President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965. (See FRED’S STORY, pp.6-7, web cite’s front page )

Published by profbartling1

Retired professor Concordia University, St. Paul, Mn. Taught mainly American History. Also taught in other areas of history, philosophy, and theology,

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