Selma will mark the anniversary of a watershed moment of the civil rights movement this weekend with an annual commemoration that will end with activists young and old walking across a historic bridge.
The 18th annual Bridge Crossing Jubilee began Thursday in the west Alabama city with a reception and a mass meeting at Tabernacle Baptist Church, which briefly served as headquarters for the voting rights movement in Selma.
The weekend marks the 46th anniversary of the Bloody Sunday, when authorities beat back civil rights demonstrators marching toward Montgomery across the Edmund Pettus Bridge on March 7, 1965.
The Selma-to-Montgomery march was held later in response, helping build momentum for passage of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965. Participants will walk across the bridge on Sunday to cap the annual commemoration.
During the weekend, organizers will honor members of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, which lasted for only six years in the 1960s but helped work for equal rights in everything from voting to housing to bus transportation.
SNCC's leaders included John Lewis, who is now a congressman from Georgia and is expected to attend the commemoration events.