SELMA, Ala. – On Sunday, The Arkansas Martin Luther King Jr. Commission commemorated the 58th anniversary of both the bloody confrontation at the Edmund Pettus Bridge and the march from Selma to Montgomery which happened in March of 1965 in Selma, Alabama.
Political and other known figures were also in attendance at the anniversary like President Joe Biden, Al Sharpton and Reverend Jesse Jackson.
Thousands of people from across the world waited for hours to walk across the Pettus Bridge, some calling for change which has been a statement that was historically made on that bridge 58 years ago, when over 500 African American demonstrators marched for voting rights.
“On this bridge blood was given to help redeem the soul of America.” President Biden went on to say “they forced the country to confront the hard truth and act to keep the promise of America alive.”
A lot of people like the country’s youngest African American elected Mayor, Jaylen Smith of Earle, Arkansas who was elected at 18 said being able to walk where history was made was an important moment.
“For me it was important to kind of get the experience of John Lewis on this bridge to be a part of the history that Dr. King did,” Smith said.
Smith who is now 19 also said he was able to talk with President Biden before the march took place.
“It was an amazing interaction and I got the chance to say a few things to the President before he got out,” Smith said.
J’Lesia Farris, 13-year-old Estem student, went with the Arkansas MLK Jr. Commission for the Selma Jubilee weekend, she said the overall experience has been wonderful and she was honored to walk on the bridge.
“I’m grateful for being here today walking and doing the march with all these people and walking in their footsteps,” Farris said.
Executive Director, Dushun Scarbrough of the commission said the organization travels to Selma every year and brings a variety of people to teach and spread Dr. King’s legacy.
“Bringing a delegation and bringing youth here trutly means a lot and our mission is to promote racial harmony and that’s pretty much what we do by bringing individuals down ,” Scarbrough said.
He said he hopes this was another step towards continuing to make history.