In addition to the Voting Rights Act, 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday — when over 525 peaceful marchers were violently assaulted by state police on a march from Selma to Montgomery. The youngest demonstrator in the crowd, Lynda Blackmon Lowery was 15 years old. In an interview about her memoir, she recalls:
"On Bloody Sunday I was very near, very near the front. I was, like, in the 19th line from the front. When we got to the crest of the bridge, the top of the bridge, and we saw all these men in blue — that was the Alabama State Troopers. We saw the Sheriff Jim Clark and his deputies, and we saw his posse. They were on horseback.
I really wasn't afraid that day until we got down there, all the way to the state troopers, and they said we were an illegal assembly and we had to disperse, and I heard this pop pop sound. Later I found out it was teargas. And I remember I couldn't breath, and I was scared. I was on my knees and somebody grabbed the back of my collar, [my] coat, and started pulling me backwards. And I guess I was resisting because they grabbed the front of my lapel and I bit the hand that was on the front of the lapel. And I heard that horrible n-word. And I felt him hit me twice.
I ended up with seven stitches over my right eye. I still have that scar. And 28 stitches in the back of my head, and I still have a knot in the back of my head from that."
In light of the anniversary, Sponsoring Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL) expressed the necessity of both honoring the sacrifices of Foot Soldiers and formally acknowledging America’s history in her press release, stating, “We cannot appreciate how far we have come without acknowledging from where we came.”
Press Release – Reps. Sewell and Roby
Congressional Gold Medals