"Speak Out" is an expression of opinion from the Editorial Board of WBTV, and is presented by General Manager, Nick Simonette.
Let me ask you a question…"What would you be willing to die for?"
Your family? Certainly.
Your country? Many of our soldiers do so every year.
But would you maybe think twice before giving your life for a cause?
That's the question the protestors who marched from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965 had to ask themselves.
Individuals who stood up for civil rights and the right to vote had already faced adversity.
Indeed, some had even lost their lives.
And during their first march fifty years ago this week, many were beaten, bloodied, and tear-gassed.
They decided that their rights as American citizens, and the rights of their descendants, were worth the challenges they might face.
To put it simply, they were brave.
The actions of local and state police on March 7th – "Bloody Sunday" – were televised across the nation.
Viewers were horrified by what they saw.
President Johnson authorized the use of U.S. Army soldiers and the National Guard to protect the protestors when they marched again on the 24th.
And he quickly urged passage of the Voting Rights Law of 1965, reinforcing our Constitution's 15th Amendment.
Those courageous protestors in Selma, Alabama helped change the course of American history for the better.