President Barack Obama will visit Selma, Ala., to commemorate the 50th anniversary of historic marches led by civil activists fighting against segregation and seeking to secure African Americans’ right to vote, according to Reuters.
A White House official said Tuesday that the president will make the visit on March 7 as part of his administration’s efforts to highlight the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the report says. Also according to Reuters:
The law, signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson 50 years ago this August, banned literacy tests and other tactics used in the U.S. South to block racial minorities from voting. The White House official said more details of Obama’s trip would be announced later.
The 1965 marches from Selma to Alabama’s capital of Montgomery were organized by civil rights leaders including Martin Luther King Jr. to draw national attention to the disenfranchisement of Black voters.
Alabama state troopers tried to stop the protests by attacking the marchers with tear gas and clubs. The violent media images from the marches shocked the nation and eventually spurred the Congress to pass the voting rights legislation.
The marches in 1965 are receiving renewed attention this year after the recent release of the movie, “Selma,” which highlights the campaign leading up to the historic march. On Friday, President Obama hosted a screening of the movie at the White House. Among others, Oprah Winfrey, who produced and had a role in the film, was invited.