SELMA, Ala. (WIAT) — President Biden spoke in Selma on Sunday, marking the 58th anniversary of Bloody Sunday.
People from all over showed up at the Edmund Pettus Bridge to hear the president’s remarks and commemorate that day.
Marchers young and old attended the Bridge Crossing Jubilee.
“I’m 74, and I ain’t gonna forget it,” James Bradford said.
Others learned about it for the first time.
“I think it’s pretty fun to learn about the history of people when we actually walk on their grounds,” 9-year-old Mikayla Davis said.
The 1965 Bridge Crossing marked a turning point in the civil rights movement. Hundreds walked across the bridge demonstrating for voting rights but were beaten by state troopers on the other side.
“We should learn everything,” Biden said. “The good, the bad, the truth of who we are as a nation. And everyone should know the truth of Selma.”
Biden told the crowd that history matters and Bloody Sunday should not be forgotten. Months after the demonstration, the Voting Rights Act was signed into law, ensuring access to the ballot box for all Americans.
“They forced the country to confront hard truths and to act to keep the promise of America alive,” Biden said.
The president said, however, the fight isn’t over. He called on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act in honor of the late congressman and one of the original foot soldiers in Selma.
“I made it clear,” Biden said. “I will not let a filibuster obstruct the sacred right to vote.”
Those in the crowd said they appreciated the president’s visit.
“Just him being out here is great,” Mykael Harriell said. “Letting us know that he cares and letting us know that he’s fighting to make the change that needs to happen.”
Biden’s visit also comes after a tornado ripped through Selma in January. In his remarks, he talked about the resilience of the people and the federal relief offered for the community.
He said Selma has received $8 million so far through federal recovery efforts.