Due to rising regional and national cases related to the COVID-19 pandemic, all Smithsonian museums, including the National Zoo, will temporarily close to the public starting Monday, Nov. 23. We are not announcing a reopening date at this time.
Conclusion of the march from Selma to Montgomery, March 25, 1965
(left to right): Ralph Abernathy, James Forman, Martin Luther King Jr., Jesse L. Douglas, John Lewis
King launched a major initiative in January 1965 to register black voters in Selma, Alabama, and later called for a fifty-mile protest march from Selma to Montgomery. He was conducting Sunday services in Atlanta on March 7 as marchers crossed Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge and were confronted by state troopers and local lawmen. When the protesters did not retreat, they were tear-gassed and savagely attacked. Returning immediately to Selma, King led a second march to the bridge on March 9 but turned back rather than violate a federal restraining order. After a federal judge issued a decision permitting the march to proceed, King and other civil rights leaders led the triumphant Selma-to-Montgomery march that reached Alabama’s capital on March 25. The events of "Bloody Sunday" in Selma galvanized support for the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which passed both Houses of Congress and was signed into law by President Johnson on August 6, 1965.