Delia Maynor, a high-school student in 1965 who also addressed us, was among those detained and moved to the state penitentiary in Selma. But she, along with the others, reminded us that their sacrifice was nothing compared to what happened to 26-year old Jimmy Lee Jackson. During the melee on the town square, he ran to Mack’s Café to check on his mother and grandfather. In his attempts to protect them, he was shot by a trooper and died eight days later. The death of this innocent local man galvanized the community and the SCLC, leading them to hatch a bold idea: a 50-mile march from nearby Selma to the state capital to demand their right to vote.
Today, one of the most riveting and compelling video recordings from the Civil Rights Movement is when the organizers’ attempt to make this march was violently rebuffed by armed local and state authorities after they crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Marion--known as the “Birthplace of the 50 Mile March from Selma to Montgomery”-- remains a community of resilient people, both humbled and proud of the role they played in this important milestone in the Movement. We are most grateful to the gracious members of Zion United Methodist for helping enlighten us.
-- by Anne-Marie McCartan
More about Marion's role in the Voting Rights Movement