"...There really can be no argument about the position that I have taken for there are few issues before the people of this country that are so rooted in rightness—constitutionally, morally, and humanly..."
On 7 March 1965, more than 600 individuals assembled in Selma, Alabama, to march to Montgomery (which was more than forty miles away), to protest discrimination in voting rights. Once at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, the marchers were met by Alabama State troopers and local law enforcement, who ordered them to turn around. When they did not, police shot teargas into the crowd and began beating the protesters, over fifty of whom were hospitalized. This encounter, labeled “Bloody Sunday,” was televised around the world, drawing outrage from many.
A week later, on 15 March 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson addressed Congress with a special message, which was broadcast live to the nation on radio and television. Entitled “The American Promise,” Johnson’s speech passionately argued for Congress to pass a strong voting-rights bill to prohibit racial discrimination. The present letter is a reply to Ohio Congressman Michael J. Kirwan, who had evidently expressed his support to Jonson and the sentiments delivered in his address.
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