FIERCE LIGHT JOURNEY
The AMERICAN Civil Rights Movement
On March 7, Rev. Hosea Williams and John Lewis stepped from the pulpit of Brown Chapel Church and led a group of 600 toward Montgomery. After just six blocks, when they crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge over the Alabama River, Sheriff Jimmy Clark's mounted deputies and state troopers dispatched by Wallace attacked the group with nightsticks and tear gas, injuring dozens. Television networks interrupted regular programming to show film of what became known as "Bloody Sunday." The scene stunned Activists.
Two weeks later, religious leaders joined Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to support the local marchers. Under the watchful protection of National Guardsmen and Army troops, a court- ordered limit of 300 marchers walked along U.S. Hwy. 80 during the day and slept in the fields at night. They covered the 54 miles between Selma and Montgomery in four days and gathered without incident in front of the State Capitol.
In 2009, John Lewis was present on the stage during the inauguration of Barack Obama, as the only living speaker from the rally at the March on Washington. Obama signed a commemorative photograph for Lewis with the words, "Because of you, John. Barack Obama."