Today commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of Bloody Sunday, when Rep. John Lewis first led a march from Selma to Montgomery, seeking the right to vote. On their first attempt to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge, some six hundred marchers were greeted by law enforcement officers wielding nightsticks and tear gas. Martin Luther King, Jr., lead a symbolic march two days later.

On March 21, more than 3,000 marchers joined Dr. King on a march to Montgomery. By the time the Dr. King reached Montgomery, approximately 25,000 marchers accompanied him. Only a few months later, President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Selma marked a pivotal turning point in the Civil Rights movement. Today, leaders from all political stripes gather together by the Edmund Pettus Bridge to remember the bravery of those who marched for freedom and celebrate how far we have come.

Livestream of the event is here:

Leaders in attendance include Senator Tim Scott, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, Rep. John Lewis, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, President George W. Bush, and many more. Follow their live Twitter updates:

It’s incredibly difficult to comprehend that we beat and gassed American citizens for wanting the right to vote a mere fifty years ago, but encouraging to see how far we’ve come in such a short amount of time.

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