T-Shirt - Vote! - Selma 50th | Syracuse Cultural Workers

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T-Shirt - Vote! - Selma 50th - Small

T-Shirt - Vote! - Selma 50th

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Photograph: Matt Herron Quote on back: Rather than encouraging more people to vote, many states are passing laws that make voting more difficult for people of color, poor people, women and elders. www.brennancenter.org The Selma marches (there were three, but only one reached Montgomery) were pivotal events in the Civil Rights Movement, bringing international attention to the brutality of racist segregation and amplifying Alabama’s denial of voting rights to African Americans. In January and February, 1965 over 3,000 people had been arrested in a voter registration campaign that included the police murder of Jimmie Lee Jackson. On March 7, 1965 protesters attempting to march to Montgomery, the state capitol, were brutally attacked by state troopers. Seventeen were hospitalized, and the police riot came to be known as “Bloody Sunday.” Eight days after Bloody Sunday, President Lyndon Johnson submitted the Voting Rights Act to Congress. It became law August 6, 1965. Under federal protection, the final Selma march began March 21 with 8,000 people. By the time it reached Montgomery, its ranks had swelled to 25,000 as scores of bystanders joined. Matt Herron’s photograph portrays the impassioned reaction of African American bystanders who could scarcely believe such an act of resistance was happening in their racist county. The historical importance of Selma’s 50th is magnified by rightists’ anti-democracy attacks on voting rights that include the Supreme Court’s 2013 gutting of the Voting Rights Act and over 20 states’ passage of voter suppression ID laws. On a hopeful note, a federal judge declared Wisconsin’s voter ID law unconstitutional on April 29, 2014.

Matt Herron


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