Category Archives: history

Sun Sentinel Article

Kindred Sprits ~ BrothersI am bless to have had this article [Selma journey brings kindred spirits together] published on the Opinion Page [Page 16A] in the Saturday, 08/29, Sun Sentinel. Thanks to Mr. Giraldo [Rafael] and to Mr. Antonio Fins of the Sun Sentinel.

I trust you have read my three blog articles relating to the civil rights struggle in the United States. If not, here are the titles and links to them:

 
  • Today—Selma, Alabama
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  • From Selma to Montgomery, Alabama
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  • March 25, 1965
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    These were tough times for our country. As a people, we are better for them.

    Mr. Giraldo [Rafael] and I are close because of his many riding experiences as he trekked across the country. His riding experiences are similar to some of my touring experiences. His ride through Alabama is particularly poignant and drew us closer together.

    We rode together as brothers the last two days of his awesome recumbent trike ride across the country.

    Saturday, 08/29, I met him as he resolved a flatting issue with Manifest Destiny, his trike. We rode together, Mr. G. on his Expedition and me on my RANS Citi Crank Forward bike. It was a wonderful ride with GREAT conversation. We spent the evening together in my room after a scrumptious dinner from Hans Meijer. Thanks Hans!

    Sunday, the final day of the tour, we awakened early, to ride the final miles. This time both of us on trikes—one Catrike Expedition and one Catrike 700.

    We experienced a spectacular sunrise, followed by a day that became increasing hot as we came to the end of his journey. Rafael’s family and friends gave him a warm and loving reception.

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    March 25, 1965

    Goals of the March

    In the name of the greatest people that have ever trod this earth, I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny, and I say segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.

    James Bevel’s initial plan was to march to Montgomery to ask Governor George Wallace (August 25, 1919 – September 13, 1998) if he had anything to do with ordering the lights out and the state troopers to shoot during the march in which Jimmie Lee Jackson was killed. Bevel called the march in order to focus the anger and pain of the people of Selma, some of whom wanted to address Jackson’s death with violence, towards a nonviolent goal. The marchers also hoped to bring attention to the violations of their rights by marching to Montgomery. Dr. King agreed with Bevel’s plan, and asked for a march from Selma to Montgomery to ask Governor George Wallace to protect black registrants.

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    From Selma to Montgomery, Alabama

    The law is clear that the right to petition one’s government for the redress of grievances may be exercised in large groups . . . . These rights may . . . be exercised by marching, even along public highways.
    Williams v. Wallace, 240 F. Supp. 100, 106 (M.D. Ala. 1960).

    Judge Frank M. Johnson, Jr.

    Today, Mr. Giraldo rides a route [now designated the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail] that was walked beginning March 21, 1965. I hope that you have read my article about the historical significance of Selma, Alabama in America’s civil right struggle. There were two other marches [March 5th—Bloody Sunday & March 7th] before the 54-mile, five-day, four-night march. I’m still very emotional about this…

    The five-day, four-night march began on March 21, and covered a 54-mile (87 km) route along U.S. Route 80 (in Alabama known as the "Jefferson Davis Highway"). Protected by 2,000 soldiers of the U.S. Army, 1,900 members of the Alabama National Guard under Federal command, and many FBI agents and Federal Marshals, the marchers averaged ten miles (16 km) a day and arrived in Montgomery on the 24th, and the Alabama Capitol building on the 25th.[9]

    {This text, and the following text, is copied from the Wikipedia article on the Selma to Montgomery marches.}

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    Today—Selma, Alabama

    Mr. Giraldo’s destination lies some 80 miles from Northport, Alabama [which sits just across the Black Warrior River from Tuscaloosa, Alabama]. Mr. Giraldo’s decision to ride to Selma and Montgomery, Alabama is significant in that it draws the Tour of Discovery’s attention to a part of the civil rights struggle in this country. I am touched by his decision to do so. I was a high school and college student during the ’60’s. My reading of the civil rights marches that originated in Selma brings tears to my eyes.

    graphic from http://www.nps.gov/history/nr/travel/civilrights/al4.htm

    Alabama police attack Selma-to-Montgomery Marchers, 1965 ~ Federal Bureau of Investigation Photograph ~ photo from http://www.nps.gov/history/nr/travel/civilrights/cost.htm

    The Selma to Montgomery marches were three marches in 1965 that marked the political and emotional peak of the American civil rights movement. They were the culmination of the voting rights movement in Selma, Alabama, launched by Amelia Boynton and her husband. Boynton brought many prominent leaders of the American Civil Rights Movement to Selma, including James Bevel, who first called for the march; Martin Luther King, Jr.; and Hosea Williams.

    The first march took place on March 7, 1965 — “Bloody Sunday” — when 600 civil rights marchers were attacked by state and local police with billy clubs and tear gas. The second march took place on March 9. Only the third march, which began on March 21 and lasted five days, made it to Montgomery, 54 miles (87 km) away.

    The route is memorialized as the Selma To Montgomery Voting Rights Trail, a U.S. National Historic Trail. {the text inserted above is from Wikipedia}

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