Forty two years ago this week, Selma, Alabama was the scene of one of the most enduring and violent images in the struggle for civil rights. On March 7, 1965 civil rights activists holding a nonviolent march were attacked by police using billyclubs, tear gas and bullwhips. In history, this day would be remembered as Bloody Sunday because 17 marchers were sent to the hospital, and the violence was captured by television cameras for all to see.

On March 4, 2007 many of the top 2008 contenders for the Democratic nomination were in Selma to mark the anniversary of Bloody Sunday. “I’m here because somebody marched for our freedom. I’m here because you all sacrificed for me. I stand on the shoulders of giants.” Obama also spoke of a call to action for young black people in the United States. Obama asked them to take responsibility and reject violence, clean up urban neighborhoods of trash and litter, and vote instead of complaining about the government not helping them. “How can it be that our voting rates dropped down to 30, 40, 50 percent when people shed their blood to allow us to vote?” Obama asked.

Not to be out done, in a separate speech three blocks away from Obama, Hillary Clinton said, “After all the hard work getting rid of literacy tests and poll taxes, we’ve got to stay awake because we’ve got a march to continue. How can we rest while poverty and inequality continue to rise?” However, the big star of the day was former President Bill Clinton. President Clinton was in Selma to be inducted into their Voting Rights Hall of Fame. “If it hadn’t been for the Voting Rights Act, the South would have never recovered and two white southerners, Jimmy Carter andTop of FormBottom of Form Bill Clinton, never could have become president,” Clinton said.

It is interesting that Hillary Clinton’s campaign felt the need to bring in her husband to speak at Selma. Mrs. Clinton was originally scheduled to speak for her husband at the Voting Rights Hall of Fame, but that was changed once it became clear that Barack Obama would also be there. Recent polls have shown that Hillary Clinton’s support among African American voters has dropped since Obama entered the race. I think that bringing her husband in was a calculated move designed to stem the tide of declining support. Eventually, Hillary Clinton is going to have to run alone, and it will be then that her weaknesses will be fully exposed.


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