The Nation honors the 50th anniversary of Selma riots

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – It is a historic day in Alabama. The city of Selma is honoring the 50th Anniversary of the Selma Riots, a turning point in the Civil Rights Movement.

President Obama was in Selma Saturday to make the occasion.

People from all over Alabama and the entire country made a pilgrimage to Selma to honor the sacrifice of hundreds of protesters who were brutally attacked by state troopers in 1965, a day ultimately known as “Bloody Sunday.”

Congressman John Lewis was among the leaders of the march.

“I want to thank all of you who marched over the bridge on Bloody Sunday … you didn’t have to but you did!” Lewis said.

And in the ultimate sign that their efforts made a difference, it was the first African American president who thanked the marchers for their contribution.

“We gather here to honor the courage of ordinary Americans willing to endure billy clubs and the chastening rod; tear gas and the trampling hoof,” Obama said. “All of us need to recognize, as they did, that change depends on our actions, our attitudes, the things we teach our children.”

And President Obama’s comments were echoed by those Civil Rights leaders still working to make a different like Martin Luther King III.

“We are no longer doing voter education. I think voter education along with voter registration ultimately leads to voter participation,” King said.

A black president, speaking freely and marching across the Edmund Pettus Bridge; a dream many thought impossible, especially those who were in this very same spot 50 years ago under much different circumstances.

Civil Rights leaders were calling for better access to economic and educational opportunities for the many people still struggling in minority communities.

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