United Way
Indiana 211

Rodie Love

Rodie Love

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and UAW 685

Last March Rodie Love and a few friends loaded up on a bus organized by NAACP Branch #3053, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Selma – Montgomery Voting Right Trail along with 70,000 supporters.

“I was excited about joining people from all over the country on the Edmund Pettus Bridge and walking the same steps from the original march in 1965. I got goose bumps when we walked across the bridge that day. We were lucky enough to walk with original marcher Joseph Tapp and hear his stories from that day. He said he was so scared but knew that it had to be done, that it had to happen. In those times he said it was normal to be hurt when exercising your rights, and he was prepared to be hurt because he wanted to vote.

That day we walked for miles 2 miles and everyone was friendly, the atmosphere was pure excitement. Many people were speaking about black rights but everyones’ rights were included and people from all walks of life and many different races attended. I was making history! I wish my grandma could see how far we have come, to see the rights we have now. She taught me to value the vote. I always make a point to vote because people gave their lives and it was only 50 years ago. Before the bridge there was a stage and many people told stories of their grandparents’ struggle - what they went through. It was a day filled with inspiration and courage and the true story of how a few ordinary Americans helped change the course of history.”

Cheryl Graham joined Rodie Love and said as she made the march, "she met people's gaze, their eyes said, 'I'm glad you are here, you are welcome!'"

Did you know?

The Edmund Pettus Bridge was named after an American lawyer, soldier, and legislator. He served as a Confederate general during the American Civil War. After the war he was a Grand Dragon of the Alabama Ku Klux Klan and a Democratic U.S. Senator. (1)

The Selma to Montgomery walk was attempted three times between March 7, 1965 and March 21, 1965.

The first march was on March 7. Six hundred civil rights activists gathered at the Brown Chapel AME Church in Selma, Alabama to start a peaceful 54-mile trek to the state capitol in Montgomery and to Governor George Wallace because their vote had been denied. State troopers attacked the unarmed marchers with billy clubs and tear gas after they passed over the county line, and the event became known as Bloody Sunday. (2)

The media publicized worldwide this video, bringing the nation's attention to this injustice, watch it here. 

The second march was on March 9. Troopers, police, and marchers confronted each other at the county end of the bridge again, but when the troopers stepped aside to let them pass, King led the marchers back to the church. He was obeying a federal injunction while seeking protection from federal court for the march.(2)

The third march started March 21. Protected by 2,000 soldiers of the U.S. Army, 1,900 members of the Alabama National Guard under Federal command, and many FBI agents and Federal Marshals, the marchers averaged 10 miles a day along U.S. Route 80. The marchers arrived in Montgomery on March 24 and at the Alabama State Capitol on March 25. With thousands having joined the campaign, 25,000 people entered the capital city that day in support of voting rights. (2)

50 years later, watch 70,000 supporters along with President Obama here. 

(1) Wikipedia
(2) Wikipedia