The incident at the Edmund Pettus Bridge


Marching to Montgomery
Date: 
Sun, 1965-03-07

*On this date in 1965, the Edmund Pettus Bridge attack occurred. The incident began when about 600 Blacks left the Brown Chapel AME Church for a 50-mile march to Montgomery.

SCLC’s Hosea Williams and SNCC’s John Lewis led them. A number of newsmen witnessed the long column of freedom singing marchers as they approached the Edmund Pettus Bridge, the gateway out of Selma. Roughly 100 State Troopers, commanded by Major John Cloud, blocked the opposite end of the bridge. After crossing the bridge over the Alabama River, the marchers’ path was blocked by State troopers. Williams tried to speak with Cloud twice, but the major said “There is no word to be had…you have two minutes to turn around and go back to your church.”

Within a minute, the marchers were attacked by tear gas and charging horsemen. The incident was seen on national television while 16 marchers ended up in the hospital and another 50 received emergency treatment.

Reference:
The Encyclopedia Britannica, Fifteenth Edition.
Copyright 1996 Encyclopedia Britannica Inc.
ISBN 0-85229-633-0

The World Book Encyclopedia.
Copyright 1996, World Book, Inc.
ISBN 0-7166-0096-X

Person / name: 

Bridge, Edmund Pettus