Built in 1903 by students of the Tuskegee Normal School, later named Tuskegee Institute and now Tuskegee University. The students made the bricks by hand and built the two room school under the directions of Dr. Booker T. Washington. It was constructed for the descendants of slaves. Located on three acres of land and restored to its originality, today it is a developing historic museum that tells the story of early school life and living in rural Alabama. The school houses the exposition of local African Americans education and achievements from the slave ships to the space ships, highlighting those of Tuskegee Univertity who help develop the NASA project of growing food in space. Tours daily by request.
The Birmingham campaign was a movement organized in early 1963 by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) to bring attention to the integration efforts of African Americans in Birmingham, Alabama. Led by Martin Luther King, Jr.
March 7, 1965, became known as Bloody Sunday in the annals of the civil rights struggle in America. That day, around 500 people set out to march the 54 miles from Selma, Ala., to the state capital in Montgomery in support of what would become the Voting Rights Act.
The voting rights movement was transformed into a national cause when the marchers were stopped on the Edmund Pettus Bridge as they left Selma. A state trooper told them they were “an unlawful assembly” and ordered them to disperse. When they did not, they were attacked by about 150 troopers and others who wielded billy clubs and tear gas. Fifty-eight people were treated for injuries at a local hospital, including Representative John Lewis, then 25 and chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, for a skull fracture.
Two weeks later, after a federal judge ruled they had a constitutional right to march, the group set out again, under National Guard protection. It was 25,000 strong by the time the march ended on March 25 in Montgomery. That summer, the Voting Rights Act became law.
A commemoration of the march is scheduled to begin Sunday in Selma, led by Mr. Lewis and Vice President Joseph Biden Jr., and will end in Montgomery on Friday. Its urgent purpose is to underscore why the Supreme Court must uphold a central provision of the Voting Rights Act, which is now under challenge in Shelby County, Ala. v. Holder. That provision — Section 5 — applies in Alabama and other places where voting discrimination remains much worse than elsewhere in the country. It requires that any change in voting rules be preapproved by the Justice Department or a special court in Washington. Without this provision, there would be no way to prevent new efforts to block blacks and Hispanics from voting or to reduce their electoral power.
The justices heard oral argument on the Shelby County case last Wednesday. This week’s events in Alabama should remind them of the enormous cost many Americans have paid to win the right to vote, and why that remains under persistent threat and must be defended.
Civil Rights Memorial & Center - Dedicated to those who died during the modern Civil Rights Movement, the wall includes excerpts quoted in the historical speech by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial - Free Admission.
Lowndes County Interpretive Center officially opened its doors to the public August 25, 2006. The interpretive center is the first of three proposed along the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail.
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