NONFICTION/HISTORY In 1965, police brutally beat people who were marching peacefully to demand voting rights for African-Americans. When Dr. King Marched From Selma Fifty years ago, thousands of people faced terror to walk with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and demand voting rights. People called it “Bloody Sunday.” On March 7, 1965, 600 people set out walking from Selma, Alabama. They were marching to demand voting rights. Back then, racist laws made it nearly impossible for African-Americans to vote in that state. The group planned to march 50 miles to Montgomery, the capital of Alabama. They made it only six blocks before police attacked them with clubs and toxic gas. Battered and bloody, the marchers turned back. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had not been at the march. But later, on March 21, King led a new march from Selma to Montgomery. Soldiers sent by President 20 Scholastic Action | January 12, 2015 AP/CORBIS Lyndon Johnson were there for protection. The march took four days, with marchers camping in farmers’ ﬁelds at night. Along the way, more people joined them. By March 25, the group was 25,000 strong. Then King gave an inspiring speech on the steps of the Capitol. He talked of peace and an end to prejudice. “I know you are asking today, ‘How long will it take?’ ” said King to the crowd. “How long? Not long.” The march was a key event in the civil rights movement. Less than ﬁve months later, President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965. This law made it illegal to deny someone the right to vote based on race.