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Congreswoman Clarke’s Statement on Commemorating the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery Marches

Brooklyn, N.Y. – Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke released the following statement on her visit with a delegation of civil rights leaders and Members of Congress to Selma, Alabama to commemorate the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery marches, which resulted in the enactment of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

On March 7, 1965, the marchers were brutally attacked by a violent mob that included members of the Alabama State Police, local police officers, and members of the Ku Klux Klan. Congressman John Lewis, participating in the march as Chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, was beaten and his skull was fractured — he still bears the scars from the attack. Congressman Lewis will lead the delegation from Congress.

“I am honored to participate in the commemoration of the historic march from Selma to Montgomery, an act of courage that changed our nation forever. When the march began, the basic rights of African Americans in Alabama and in much of the United States were subordinated by Jim Crow. A century after the Emancipation Proclamation declared the end of slavery, the descendants of a people born in bondage were not yet free citizens of the United States. It was the work of individuals such as Congressman John Lewis and the hundreds of participants in the marches to call this nation to its conscience, to insist on their right to full participation in our civil society. Their sacrifice will remain forever an inspiration to people who believe in our ability to change society for the better,” said Congresswoman Clarke. “The marches from Selma to Montgomery are particularly important today, when state legislatures across the United States – including in Alabama – have been trying to deprive African Americans of their right to vote by enacting voter identifications laws and removing their names from the lists of eligible voters. These tactics are intended only to prevent  African Americans from voting and to exclude our interests and our concerns from the policy of this nation. We cannot allow the evil of Jim Crow to return in any form.”

U.S. Representative Yvette D. Clarke is a member of the House Committee on Small Business, Ethics, and Homeland Security, where she is the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies. She represents many neighborhoods in central and southern Brooklyn, NY which include Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Flatbush, Gerritsen Beach, Madison, Midwood, parts of Park Slope and Flatlands, Prospect Heights, Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, Sheepshead Bay, and Windsor Terrace.