Selma Alabama and Obama's unsung heros

This week I've been in Alabama interviewing people who were children and young adults on the 1965 civil rights march for the vote. These people are some of the unsung heros Obama praised in his presidential acceptance speech ("and on a bridge in Selma..."). They marched and sang and were beaten and jailed. Released, they went out and marched again. Their courage provided the news coverage to outrage Americans and give President Johnson the power to get the Voting Rights Act through Congress.

On Tuesday November 4th I was in Selma. It was a historic day to be waiting to hear the outcome of our election. People excited, anxious, hopeful.
Getting out the vote, in the original get-out-the-vote town.

At eight pm I joined a silent candlelit vigil walking across the Pettus Bridge. Faces beautiful in the flickering candlelight. We gathered at the foot of the bridge in a circle, moving in together as Amelia Boynton, in her 90's, walked to the center to share her memories. On the original Bloody Sunday march in 1965 she was struck down by the sheriff's posse and lay by the side of the road in a swirling mist of tear gas.

Check out this wonderful photo taken by Rene Johnston of the Toronto Star:

We listened, quiet and hushed. Suddenly someone called out: "Obama's taken Pennsylvania!" People yelled and cheered and wept and we clambered back across the bridge, noisy and relieved and joyous.