March 7, 2020
Day 67 of 366
March 7th is the sixty-seventh day of the year. It is Teacher’s Day in Albania.
Historical items of note:
- In 1573, a peace treaty was signed between the Ottoman Empire and the Republic of Venice. This ended the three-year-long Ottoman–Venetian War and left Cyprus in Ottoman control.
- In 1671, the infamous Scottish outlaw Rob Roy MacGregor was born.
- In 1875, French pianist, composer, and conductor Maurice Ravel was born.
- In 1876, Alexander Graham Bell was granted a patent for the telephone.
- In 1941, Günther Prien and the crew of German submarine U-47, one of the most successful U-boats of World War II, disappeared without a trace.
- In 1956, actor, director, and producer Bryan Cranston was born.
- In 1959, actress and singer Donna Murphy was born.
- In 1965, a group of 600 civil rights marchers was brutally attacked by state and local police in Selma, Alabama. The event is known as Bloody Sunday.
- In 1970, actress and producer Rachel Weisz was born.
- In 1986, divers from the USS Preserver (ARS-8) located the crew cabin of Space Shuttle Challenger on the ocean floor.
- In 2007, the British House of Commons voted to make the upper chamber of Parliament, the House of Lords, entirely elected instead of appointed.
In 1965, a group of 600 civil rights marchers was brutally attacked by state and local police in Selma, Alabama. The event is known as Bloody Sunday.
It was the first of three protest marches from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, held along the 54-mile highway between the two locations. The marches were organized by nonviolent activists to lobby for voting rights for African-American citizens. By highlighting the racial injustices of segregation and voter suppression, they contributed to the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965, a landmark civil rights achievement that prohibited racial discrimination in voting.
The marches followed from injustices that remained in place even despite the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Continuous disenfranchisement and discrimination, as well as violence against black protestors, eventually led to the first nonviolent march. State troopers and county possemen attacked the unarmed protestors with billy clubs and tear gas as they crossed the county line near Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma. During the altercation, the law enforcement officers beat organizer Amelia Boynton unconscious, resulting in the worldwide publicized image of her lying wounded on the bridge.
A second march followed two days later. The two parties confronted one another again, but the troopers allowed the marchers to return to the church from which they started. That night, minister James Reeb was beaten and murdered by a group of white men.
The violence of Bloody Sunday and Reeb’s murder resulted in national outcry and acts of civil disobedience, targeted toward both Alabama and federal governments. President Lyndon Johnson held a historic, nationally televised joint session of Congress on March 15th to ask for the Voting Rights Act to be passed for his signature. He also stepped in to offer federal protection for the marchers, who conducted their third event on March 21st. They successfully completed their trek and arrived at the Alabama State Capitol on March 25th with 25,000 people in support.
The route is memorialized as the “Selma To Montgomery Voting Rights Trail”, and is designated as a U.S. National Historic Trail. The Voting Rights Act became law on August 6, 1965.
The Thing About Today is an effort to look at each day of 2020 with respect to its historical context.
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