Obama Speaks at Selma's "Bloody Sunday" 50th Anniversary

Natalie Stone

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama made a trip to Selma, Al., to speak at the 50th anniversary of the civil rights "Bloody Sunday" march on Saturday afternoon.

Former president George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush were also in attendance with fellow government leaders at the Edmund Pettus Bridge to commemorate the March 7, 1965, 50-mile march. Protestors were beaten and tear-gassed in their effort to end voting discrimination by marching in peace to Montgomery.


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"We gather here to honor the courage of ordinary Americans," President Obama said in his speech. "What enormous faith these people had — faith in God but also faith in America."


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Ava DuVernay's Oscar-nominated Selma, which starred David Oyelowo, tells the story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who peacefully marched and campaigned for equal rights. The film was nominated for best picture and took home the Oscar for John Legend and Common's best original song "Glory." The director was unable to attend the anniversary gathering due to work.

"Wish I was at #SELMA50, but working. A show about demanding + upholding justice led by @AnikaNoniRose. Blessings to Selma. A luta continua," she wrote on Twitter.

Wish I was at #SELMA50, but working. A show about demanding + upholding justice led by @AnikaNoniRose. Blessings to Selma. A luta continua.

—Ava DuVernay (@AVAETC) March 7, 2015

New Yorkers also commemorated the 50-year anniversary by walking across the Brooklyn Bridge in honor of the Selma march, while Obama, the first family and many others walked across the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

"We honor those who walked so we could run. We must run so our children soar. And we will not grow weary," Obama said at the end of his speech. "For we believe in the power of an awesome God, and we believe in this country's sacred promise."


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The Obama family and Bush family join marchers to cross Selma's Edmund Pettus Bridge. pic.twitter.com/fu6lu4ZNe7

—Jeff Mason (@jeffmason1) March 7, 2015

"We know the march is not yet over." Obama quoting King and Baldwin. Speaking on Ferguson and future. At base of Pettus. Yes, sir. #Selma50

—Ava DuVernay (@AVAETC) March 7, 2015

Know your history kids. #Selma #civilrights #votingrights #CivilDisobedience #MLK pic.twitter.com/fLL6ZlsqLn

—carmen ejogo (@carmenejogo) March 7, 2015

YouTube the President's speech if you didn't just watch it live. It really was special. #Selma50

—John Legend (@johnlegend) March 7, 2015