It was the first Sunday in March of 1965 when the civil rights of a large group of people were violated by government agents. I was an adolescent working in a gas station, when the news broadcast broke into regularly scheduled programs on TV to show the country what was happening. I didn’t learn the story until later that evening.
Here is the story, as recounted in American Memory (available from the US Library of Congress).
On Sunday March 7, 1965, about 525 people began a fifty-four mile march from Selma, Alabama to the state capitol in Montgomery. They were demonstrating for African American voting rights and to commemorate the death of Jimmie Lee Jackson, shot three weeks earlier by an state trooper while trying to protect his mother at a civil rights demonstration. On the outskirts of Selma, after they crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge, the marchers, in plain sight of photographers and journalists, were brutally assaulted by heavily armed state troopers and deputies.
Publicity of the event and subsequent actions by civil rights leaders made clear that repressive laws and practices had to change. We have these people to thank for making all of us freer.