KKK Flyers Distributed, Man Arrested during Selma 50th Anniversary
Photograph of crowd by Gloria Tatum; photograph of flyer courtesy of Junia Joseph.
(APN) SELMA, Alabama — During the March 07 and 08, 2015 weekend events commemorating the 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday” in Selma, Alabama, where President Barack Obama and other dignitaries honored the sacrifices of civil rights leaders, a hateful force was emerging again in the back streets of Selma, away from the spotlight of national media.
The Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) was busy under cover of night distributing leaflets around Selma. Atlanta Progressive News obtained an image of one of the flyers.
Also a billboard, visible from the historic Edmund Pettus Bridge, features a Confederate flag and invites visitors to tour “Selma’s War Between the State’s Historic Sites.”
Many Selma homeowners awoke Sunday morning to find KKK leaflets thrown on their laws.
Two men from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, allege their truck was sabotaged by the Klan sometime Saturday night.
A tire on their vehicle fell off on highway 80, they said, and they were towed back to Franklin and J.L. Chestnut Jr. Street, where their street ministry was set up, to find the area littered with KKK leaflets.
In a sort of street theater, they had a homemade jail cell set up at that corner, raising the issue of mass incarceration of Black men.
“Someone removed four heavy bolts from my right rear tire on my truck. The KKK tried to murder a Black man on the 50th anniversary of Selma,” Michael O.G. Law told Atlanta Progressive News.
When he reported the incident to the police they said, “Someone does not like you,” he alleges.
Later that day, this APN reporter walked pass that area again to find Law’s friend in an agitated state claiming Law had been arrested at the bridge for starting a riot.
“I saw twelve police officers put their hands on him [Law]. He never resisted, fought, or argued. He had concerns trying to file a complaint about our tire falling off and the Klan leaflets left at the vicinity we were at,” Minister Wali told APN.
A local man grilling hot dogs and chicken on a drum grill, verified the KKK leaflets strewn in the area.
“I was here when the wrecker service brought his truck back and he was telling that someone made the lugs loose on the truck. They [police] told him someone did not like the message he was trying to send,” the local man, who preferred to remain anonymous, said.
“There’s still police harassment and police brutality going on in this city,” the anonymous griller told APN.
Fifty years ago in Selma, Alabama, police tear-gassed, assaulted, and jailed Black people who marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge to demand their civil rights and voting rights.
That day has gone down in history as “Bloody Sunday” and has reminded many people of the reality of race relations and police brutality in the South.
During that era other people were murdered in the fight for equal rights and access to the ballot.
As previously reported by APN, in 2013, the Supreme Court of the U.S. struck down section 4 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which created a definition that, in conjunction with section 5, required states with a history of minority voter suppression to get permission from the U.S. Department of Justice before changing voting laws.
With that Supreme Court decision, plus many states, like Georgia, passing voter suppression laws, advances in voting rights have been rolled back for minorities and others.
While today, much progress has been made because of the sacrifice of civil rights activists in the past, racism is still alive and well in the U.S.
Rev. Timothy McDonald, Senior Pastor at First Iconium Baptist Church in Atlanta, said he was marching because fifty years ago they gave us the template.
“We have to take it to the streets and to our elected officials, and don’t stop until we get the results we desire,” Rev. McDonald told APN.
“Today, the Voting Rights Act has been gutted, we still have schools being closed and jails being built. Racism is not dead, poverty is everywhere, and militarism is running rampant. The Middle East is in turmoil and war is all over the place,” Rev. McDonald said.
Over one hundred thousand people walked across the Edmund Pettus Bridge to reenact that historic day. Some walked backward over the bridge to represent grounds lost in voting rights because of the Supreme Court decision and voter suppression laws.
“If you want reform, it’s not shortening the days we can vote but looking into the practices to make sure that every vote is counted,” State Rep. “Able” Mable Thomas (D-Atlanta) said.
“We don’t have a verifiable paper trail in Georgia and there has been a lot of resistance to having it. When it comes to something as precious as a ballot, I would prefer a paper verifiable form to do it, ” Rep. Thomas said.
The reality of Ferguson, Missouri; Madison, Wisconsin; and all the other cities where unarmed Black men are being killed by militarized police forces, has sparked demonstrations demanding justice across the nation.
Today a younger generation of civil rights activists are waking up to the reality that they cannot stop working for civil rights just because of the accomplishments of the 1960s. The struggle goes on as long as the forces of racism, bigotry, and hatred do as well.