Today In History Spotlights Mar. 7, 1965, Civil Rights Protesters Brutally Attacked in Selma, Alabama

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Today’s History Spotlight

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Civil Rights protesters are brutally attacked by police in Selma, Alabama. Known as Bloody Sunday, this tragic event was part of the Selma to Montgomery Marches. Organized by nonviolent activists, the marches were held to protest unconstitutional segregationist policies and bring to light the suppression of African-American voters. On March 7 of that year, the protesters were attacked by police after crossing the county line towards their destination.

One of the organizers, Amelia Boynton, was knocked unconscious. A second march began two days later, and that night, a universalist pastor named James Reeb was murdered by segregationists. On March 25, 1965, Martin Luther King Jr. traveled to Montgomery, Alabama, where he delivered a speech titled, “How Long? Not Long.” It was here that he stated, “The battle is in our hands. And we can answer with creative nonviolence the call to higher ground to which the new directions of our struggle summons us. The road ahead is not altogether a smooth one. There are no broad highways that lead us easily and inevitably to quick solutions. But we must keep going.”

What Happened On This Day – March 7

  • 1971 A speech by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman helps spark the Bangladesh war of independence. Bangladesh’s founding leader made his historical speech at a time of mounting tensions between East Pakistan, which later became Bangladesh, and West Pakistan, which became present-day Pakistan.
  • 1965 Police brutally attack civil rights marchers in Selma, Alabama. Scores of demonstrators were injured, and the day entered history books as Bloody Sunday. The event helped to shift public opinion in favor of the Civil Rights movement.
  • 1945 U.S. troops capture the Ludendorff Bridge and cross the Rhine at Remagen. The legendary capture yielded little strategic advantage but it elevated the morale of the U.S. troops in pursuit of retreating German fighters,
  • 1926 The first two-way transatlantic telephone takes place. The conversation between the post office in London and Bell Laboratories in New York was established using a short-wave radio signal.
  • 1900 The SS Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse becomes the first ship to send wireless signals to shore. The German transatlantic liner was fitted with wireless communication by its owner, Norddeutscher Lloyd, in order to outdo its rival Hamburg America Line.

Births On This Day – March 7

  • 1970 Rachel Weisz – English actress
  • 1960 Ivan Lendl – Czech tennis player
  • 1944 Townes Van Zandt – American singer-songwriter, guitarist
  • 1902 Heinz Rühmann – German actor
  • 1875 Maurice Ravel – French composer

Deaths On This Day – March 7

  • 2006 Ali Farka Touré – Malian singer-songwriter, guitarist
  • 1999 Stanley Kubrick – American director
  • 1975 Mikhail Bakhtin – Russian philosopher
  • 1952 Paramahansa Yogananda – Indian guru
  • 1274 Saint Thomas Aquinas – Italian priest, philosopher

The sections “What Happened On This Day,” “Births On This Day,” and “Deaths On This Day” originally appeared at and is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Garrett Smith
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