Advertisement

From the Archives: Protests in Los Angeles after beating of Selma marchers

John Lewis
March 7, 1965: Alabama state troopers use clubs against participants of a civil rights voting march in Selma, Ala.
(Associated Press)

In 1965, non-violent Civil Rights activists organized a series of voting-rights marches from Selma, Alabama to Montgomery, the state capital. African-Americans citizens were disenfranchised across much of the southern United States.

A march by about 600 protesters on Sunday, March 7, 1965, was violently broken up by state troopers. Seventeen marchers were hospitalized and another 50 injured. Televised and still images of the authorities beating marchers circulated world-wide.

The day, which became known as "Bloody Sunday," is widely credited for galvanizing the nation's leaders and leading to passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

In the above Associated Press image, foreground right, John Lewis, then-chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and present-day congressman, is beaten by a state trooper.

 
Front page of the March 8, 1965, Los Angeles Times with the story and photo of beatings in Selma, Ala. Several additional wire photos were published inside the paper. ProQuest

After the March 7, 1965, beating of civil rights marchers, protests broke out across the United States. In Los Angeles, demonstrators gathered to demand federal intervention to protect the marchers in Alabama. Over the next few days, more than 100 protesters were arrested.

The March 11, 1965, Los Angeles Times reported that “U.S. marshals arrested 98 defiant civil rights demonstrators Wednesday after two human barricades vitally sealed off the Federal Building most of the afternoon.”

“Three sympathizers threw themselves under buses carrying singing and chanting prisoners to jail. One was injured.”

Protests and sit-ins continued for a week. On March 13, 1965, more than 6,000 demonstrators marched from Pershing Square to Los Angeles City Hall and the Federal Building.

An earlier version of this post was published on March 8, 2015.

March 9, 1965: Sit-in protesters being removed from hallway in the U.S. Attorney General's office in
March 9, 1965: Sit-in protesters are removed from a hallway in the U.S. Attorney General's office in L.A.'s Federal Building. Bruce Cox / Los Angeles Times
March 9, 1965: A deputy U.S. marshal, left, struggles with a civil rights demonstrator during a melee
March 9, 1965: A deputy U.S. marshal, left, struggles with a civil rights demonstrator during a melee that erupted at the Federal Building when the protesters attemped to stage a sit-in there. Bruce Cox / Los Angeles Times
March 9, 1965: U.S. marshals drag sit-down demonstrators during melee in the lobby of the Federal Bu
March 9, 1965: U.S. marshals drag sit-down demonstrators during melee in the lobby of the Federal Building in Los Angeles. Jack Gaunt / Los Angeles Times
March 10, 1965: A U.S. Marshal, upper left, another with checkered shirt, lower left, and third in s
March 10, 1965: Three U.S. Marshals – one in the photo's upper left, one wearing a checkered shirt at lower left, and one in upper right – struggle with demonstrators blocking entry to L.A.'s Federal Building. Ray Graham / Los Angeles Times
March 10, 1965: One of the sit-in demonstrators is lifted by an arm and leg as he is removed from pa
March 10, 1965: A sit-in demonstrator is lifted by his arm and leg as he is removed from a Federal Building parking lot in Los Angeles. Arrests began after the demonstrators blocked the path of a U.S. mail truck. Art Rogers / Los Angeles Times
March 10, 1965: Deputy U.S. marshal, right, lays down the law to group of demonstrators lying across
March 10, 1965: Deputy U.S. marshal, right, speaks to group of demonstrators who are lying across a parking lot entrance to L.A.'s Federal Building. Ray Graham / Los Angeles Times
March 10, 1965: U.S. deputy marshals forcibly remove a demonstrator from driveway entrance to Federa
March 10, 1965: U.S. deputy marshals forcibly remove a demonstrator from an entrance to the Federal Building parking lot in L.A. Larry Sharkey / Los Angeles Times
March 10, 1965: As bus loaded with arrested women prepare to leave Federal Building in Los Angeles,
March 10, 1965: As a bus loaded with arrested women prepares to leave the Federal Building in Los Angeles, male demonstrators try to block its departure. The man at left is dragged away from the bus. Marshals then removed the other man from under the bus. Steve Fontanini / Los Angeles Times
March 13, 1965: Civil Rights marchers leave Pershing Square at 5th and Hill in Los Angeles enroute t
March 13, 1965: Civil rights marchers leave Pershing Square in Los Angeles enroute to the Federal Building. Los Angeles Times Archive / UCLA

See more from the Los Angeles Times archives here


Advertisement