Vice President Joe Biden will be in Selma next Sunday to participate in the annual event to commemorate Bloody Sunday, when state troopers and local law enforcement beat back civil rights marchers on the Edmund Pettus Bridge on March 7, 1965.
Biden, according to the White House and state Sen. Hank Sanders of Selma, will attend The Martin and Coretta King Unity Brunch at Wallace Community College, which begins at 11 a.m. Biden will also participate in the bridge crossing, in which civil rights leaders and hundreds of other people march from Brown Chapel AME Church across the bridge, which begins at about 2:30 p.m.
Sanders, in an email he sent to church leaders in Selma, said Biden’s wife Jill, will also be participating in the events.
“Further details on the vice president’s trip are forthcoming,” according to an email from the White House.
Biden will be the latest in a long ling of dignitaries that has visited Selma for the event including Bill Clinton when he was president and joining his wife Hillary when she was running for president, then-U.S. Sen. Barack Obama when he was running for president, current U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, then-Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, and Winnie Mandela. The Rev. Jesse Jackson and civil rights leader and U.S. Rep. John Lewis, an Alabama native who leads congressional pilgrimages to the event, attend annually.
Under federal protection, civil rights activists eventually marched from Selma to Montgomery in 1965. The depictions of troopers beating marchers, as seen in video and photographs in news reports throughout the nation, is credited with the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Sanders, whose wife Faya Rose Toure is a founder and organizer of the annual event, tried to inform church leaders about possible security and scheduling issues related to the event.
“As you might expect, security will be heightened on this day, and all participants must be screened before entering into the affected areas,” Sanders wrote in his email. “Unfortunately, this process can be time consuming and may affect some church services if members choose to participate in these events.”
“We ask your forgiveness, with the understanding that it is not every day that the vice president of the United States visits Selma, Dallas County, the Black Belt, or the State of Alabama.”
– posted by Sebastian Kitchen