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Selma, Alabama and the Right to Vote

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Selma, Alabama and the Right to Vote. 1965 Martin Luther King decided to launch a protest march about the Blacks right to vote in Selma, Alabama. WHY? He believe the right to vote without fear or difficulty was vital if civil rights were to be won

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Presentation Transcript
slide1
Selma, Alabama

and the Right to Vote

slide2
1965 Martin Luther King decided to launch a protest march about the Blacks right to vote in Selma, Alabama

WHY?

  • He believe the right to vote without fear or difficulty was vital if civil rights were to be won
  • Voter registration qualifications in the South often made it impossible for Blacks to vote
why was voting so important
Why was voting so important?
  • Without the vote Black citizens had no voice
  • Black politicians could be elected if Blacks could vote
  • If Black politicians were elected they could help to make improvements for Blacks
why was 1965 a good time to act
Why was 1965 a good time to act?
  • Martin Luther King had just been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his civil rights work
    • An international award only given to very special people
  • He was now world famous and could use his fame to push for more civil rights
why did mlk chose selma alabama for the protest
Why did MLK chose Selma, Alabama for the protest?
  • Alabama – state with greatest resistance to civil rights
  • Selma - only 325 out of 15,000 blacks registered to vote
  • Blacks who tried to register to vote were prevented
  • Jan – Feb 1965 protests in Selma led to the shooting of one Black protestor
  • Governor of Alabama, George Wallace promised ‘Segregation forever!’
martin luther king is arrested
Martin Luther King is arrested…
  • 1 Feb 1965 MLK deliberately got himself arrested
  • His arrest was planned as a publicity stunt
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Martin Luther King is arrested…
  • WHY?
  • March in Selma was planned for a month later
  • Shortly after winning the Nobel Peace Prize so MLK’s arrest would be big news
the march begins
The march begins…
  • Took place 7 March 1965 – aim was to march from Selma to Birmingham
slide9
The march begins…
  • Took place 7 March 1965 – aim was to march from Selma to Birmingham
  • 600 marchers crossed a bridge on outskirts of Selma
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The march begins…
  • Met by 200 state troopers and local police on horseback armed with tear gas, sticks and bull whips
slide12
The march begins…
  • The marchers were ordered to turn back
  • When they refused they were attacked by the law enforcers
slide13
The march begins…
  • Marchers were beaten, whipped, trampled on by horses and tear gas was used
  • 17 marchers were hospitalised
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USA was shocked by the images it say on TV
  • Day became known as ‘Bloody Sunday’

The chief function of the Civil Rights movement has been to awaken the nation’s conscience. Hundreds of people dropped whatever they were doing, some would leave home without changing clothes, would borrow money, hitch-hike, board planes, buses and trains, travel thousands of miles with no luggage; all these people would move for a single purpose: to place themselves alongside the Negroes they had watched on television.

George Leonard, US Journalist who watched the events of ‘Bloody Sunday’

the us army protects the march
The US army protects the march…
  • March 21, the march began again
  • This time US troops protected the marchers
  • They reached Birmingham March 25
  • However, on the same day the KKK shot and killed one of the marchers
slide16
Result of the March
  • Aug 1965 Congress passed the Voting Rights Act
  • This act removed various barriers to voting registrations
    • E.g. literacy tests and checks on poll tax
how successful was the voting rights act
How successful was the voting rights act?
  • Within 3 years most of the Black population of the south were registered to vote
  • White politicians now needed Black votes to stay in power
  • Some Blacks saw an opportunity to became politicians themselves
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The Voting Rights Act marked the end of the civil rights campaign in the south
  • By 1965 the focus of civil rights protests moved north and the style of protests also about to change from non-violent to violent…...
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