On March 21, 1965, more than 3,000 African Americans and other sympathizers joined Civil Rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on a 54 mile journey to the State Capital to submit a petition for Negro rights to Governor George Wallace. Two marches prior to the one on March 21 had been thwarted by Alabama State Troopers wielding tear gas and clubs. By the third scheduled attempt, President Lyndon Johnson sent hundreds of Army and National Guardsmen to protect the marchers.

In front of Brown’s Chapel Methodist, Dr. King delivered a message praising President Johnson for a voting rights message the President had delivered to Congress the week before. “Never has a President spoken so eloquently or so sincerely on the question of civil rights.”

Then he told the crowd, “You will be the people that will light a new chapter in the history books of our nation. Those of us who are Negroes don’t have much. We have known the long night of poverty. Because of the system, we don’t have much education and some of us don’t know how to make our nouns and verbs agree. But thank God we have our bodies, our feet and our souls.”

Happy Birthday Dr. King!

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