President Obama is slated to speak in Selma on Saturday to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the violent civil rights march that came to be known as ''Bloody Sunday''. Reuters' Kia Johnson recently met some of those who took part.
It was a march that changed the course of civil rights in the United States. But it came at a cost. On March 7th, 1965, civil rights activists began a trek from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, but were savagely halted by police. The graphic images of peaceful protesters being attacked were shown around the world, highlighting the deep-seated racism that still existed in the southern United States. Those who took part in the protest remember it like it was yesterday. Linda Lowery was a teenager at the time. (SOUNDBITE) (English) LINDA LOWERY, WAS A 14-YEAR-OLD WHO SUFFERED SERIOUS INJURIES ON BLOODY SUNDAY SAYING: "I was 14-years old, we hadn't done anything to anybody to deserve what they had done. I saw it as meanness and pure hatred." The Reverend FD Reese remembers too. He helped organize the march. (SOUNDBITE) (English) REVEREND FREDERICK DOUGLAS REESE SAYING, CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER WHO TRIED TO CROSS THE PETTUS BRIDGE ON BLOODY SUNDAY SAYING: "We saw a line of state troopers across the highway, and we were asked to not go any further, that we were going to be denied the right to continue that march, and so we were come what concerned about that and decided that we were not going to turn, unless we were turned and that particular decision caused the state troopers then to move in on us with their billy clubs clutched on both hands and literally went down the line of marchers toppling us over as if you would topple bowling pins on the bowling alley." Ultimately, the march went ahead. Led by Reverend Dr Martin Luther King, Jr., the protest culminated in Montgomery where Dr. King delivered an historic speech.. with the crowd chanting "Glory hallelujah"….