John Lewis, along with a few other voting rights protestors who crossed Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge on 1965, are well-known to the world. However, they were attacked by Alabama state troopers that day. This was what became known as “Bloody Sunday”. The new project seeks to identify more of those involved in the protest. Richard Burt, an Auburn University professor, and Keith Hebert (a group of honors college student) have created a Facebook page that allows people to look at photographs from March 7, 1965 and to identify themselves or others. The page has been online since August and is called “Help us identify Selma Bloody Sunday foot soldiers.” The page features several images of marchers, which are marked with red numerals. Users can also add their names to the comments section. The creators have already identified some people, and they hope that more will do so as the word spreads, especially in Selma where the effort is being promoted. Students at Selma High School are helping to identify marchers by asking relatives. Hebert stated that the project “highlights need for additional historical research, documentation for one of America’s most famous moments,” in a statement by the university. Our research revealed many details about Bloody Sunday that previous historians had missed. He stated that he wanted to assist those in Selma who wish to do more to preserve and understand the historical landscapes associated with this historic event. Lewis, Hosea Williams and Marie Foster were among the hundreds of marchers who gathered at the Alabama River bridge to cross the river. The column was headed for Montgomery. They were brutally beat by Dallas County sheriff’s posse members and troopers. Images of the violence helped to build support for voting rights in the segregated South. Lewis, who was born in Alabama, died last year. He went on to serve multiple terms as a representative for the Atlanta region. Many of the marchers were not publicly identified. This could be rectified by the project. The social media platform allows marchers to send messages and allow them to share their stories. Hebert stated that students are learning to communicate with different groups while they gather information about the most well-known event of the civil right movement. He said that these learning opportunities would be a boon for future career paths as they will help America build an inclusive, diverse and equitable society.
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