Alpha Phi Alp
Alpha Phi Alpha commemorates Bloody Sunday
Honors pioneers who braved Selma, Alabama voting-rights struggle
03.06.2009 – BALTIMORE, MD -- This weekend millions of Americans and citizens of
the world will pause to remember the “bloody” struggle for voting rights that took
place in Selma, Alabama 44 years ago on March 7, 1965.
Members of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., the nation’s oldest African-American
Greek-lettered organization of collegiate men will play a prominent role in the
remembrance during a series of special commemorative events in Selma
beginning this weekend. The theme of the five-day program is “Education, The Next
Bridge To Cross.” Commemorative events include educational seminars, a play and
a symbolic slow ride to Montgomery to commemorate the Bloody Sunday march.
“As a country we owe a tremendous debt to those who organized and participated in
the march called Bloody Sunday,” said Herman “Skip” Mason, Jr., the (national)
general president of Alpha. Mason said. “It took the courage of everyday people to
shine the light on the injustices black people were enduring in the South at that time,
and on behalf of Alpha Phi Alpha, I express gratitude for the sacrifices made on that
On March 7, 1965 hundreds of ordinary citizens set out to march across the Edmund
Pettus Bridge in Alabama on their way from Selma to the state capital in
Montgomery. Coordinated as a peaceful demonstration, the march was organized to
draw attention to the cruel and unjust treatment of blacks in the Jim Crow South.
Although police were waiting in riot gear on the other side, the marchers bravely
proceeded across the bridge where they were pummeled by clubs and choked by
tear gas. Network news cameras captured the bloodshed, and the media coverage
of what came to be known as “Bloody Sunday” brought an increased awareness to
the plight of people of color in the South. Two weeks later, the Voting Rights Act of
1965 was passed.
Mason will pay tribute to