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Vol. 76/No. 11      March 19, 2012

‘Civil rights struggle
showed it can be done’
Militant/Sam Manuel

SELMA, Ala.—Some 3,500 people rallied in front of the Brown Chapel AME Church here on the 47th anniversary of one of the pivotal battles of the Black proletarian movement that smashed Jim Crow segregation.

Bloody confrontations on the Edmund Pettus bridge, a week of national protests and a federal court order in 1965 forced pro-segregationist Gov. George Wallace to back down and thousands marched to the state capitol in Montgomery. On March 15 that year President Lyndon Johnson went before Congress to introduce the Voting Rights Act, which struck down discriminatory restrictions—including literacy tests and poll taxes—that had effectively barred Blacks from voting throughout the South.

The commemorative march protested two recently passed state laws. One, beginning in 2014, will require residents to present a government-issued ID in order to vote. The other is an anti-immigrant law known as HB 56. (See article on this page.)

“The unions need to start fighting back the way we did for civil rights,” letter carrier James Baskins told the Militant.

Several hundred Latino immigrants participated in the march. “This march is important because it shows that it’s not only immigrants that oppose this unjust law [HB 56],” said landscaper Raul Castillo.

“We have learned much about the struggle by Blacks for their rights,” added Castillo’s coworker Enrique Santiago. “They have shown us that it can be done.”


Related articles:
‘Civil rights struggle showed it can be done’
Illinois rally protests cop killing of Black youth
‘Deacons’ prevented violence against Black struggle in ’60s
Home of former leader’s family targeted in arson attack  
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