By Special to the Daily World
(TriceEdneyWire.com) – The Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s Women’s Organizational Movement for Equality Now (W.O.M.E.N.) Inc. will take busloads of people on a two-day tour through the cradle of the Civil Rights Movement this weekend, March 5-6.
The event commemorates ‘Bloody Sunday,’ the day that civil rights marchers were brutally attacked by state and local police on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in route from Selma to Montgomery. The more than 600 marchers were beaten with billy clubs and assaulted with tear gas.
Started in 1987, the annual Evelyn Gibson Lowery Civil Rights Heritage Tour visits several historic sites and meets with people instrumental in the movement. Students, seniors, elected officials, dignitaries and celebrities have joined the tour over the years.
This year, founder and chair of SCLC/W.O.M.E.N., Evelyn Gibson Lowery, will honor the family of slain activist Jimmie Lee Jackson, whose murderer — an Alabama State Trooper — pleaded guilty to the 1965 crime in 2010 and was sentenced to six months in jail.
The tribute will be held directly in front of the monument that SCLC/W.O.M.E.N erected in Jackson’s memory at the historic Zion Methodist Church, once a meeting place for civil rights workers.
The tour bus departs from the organization’s headquarters on Auburn Avenue in Atlanta and traces the paths of history by visiting historical sites in Birmingham, Marion, Selma, Whitehall, Montgomery, and Tuskegee, Alabama. In addition to meeting people who made history participating in the movement and reliving events that forced dramatic change in America, the group will visit monuments constructed in memory of civil rights warriors Viola Liuzzo, Rev. Hosea Williams, Earl T. Shinhoster, Coretta Scott King, Rev. James Orange, Rev. James Reeb, Albert Turner Sr., Rosa Parks, and the Freedom Wall. Tour participants will also March across the Edmund Pettus Bridge re-enacting the “Bloody Sunday” march.
On March 7, 1965, 600 peaceful protesters started a 50-mile march from Selma to Montgomery in response to Jimmy Lee Jackson’s murder and to protest for voter’s rights. As they crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge, the marchers were violently attacked by state troopers with nightsticks and tear gas. The violent incident – known as “Bloody Sunday” – was broadcast on live television and caused outrage around the country. Two days later, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led a second march that was turned back by State Troopers. After a federal judicial review, over 25,000 people were allowed to march escorted by the National Guard. Soon afterward, Congress passed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 forcing states to end discriminatory voting practices.
The Heritage Tour is open to the public. Travel packages include transportation, lodging, two meals per day, and snacks. For more information call SCLC/Women’s Organizational Movement for Equality Now at 404-584-0303 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .