Mar 7, 1965 CE: Civil Rights' 'Bloody Sunday'

Mar 7, 1965 CE: Civil Rights' 'Bloody Sunday'

On March 7, 1965, police and a citizen “posse” attacked marchers attempting to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, United States, an event that galvanized the Civil Rights Movement as “Bloody Sunday.”


5 - 11


Social Studies, U.S. History

NGS Resource Carousel Loading Logo
Loading ...

On March 7, 1965, policestate troopers, and a citizen “posse” violently attacked civil rights marchers attempting to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, United States. More than 15 marchers were hospitalized for injuries suffered in an event known as “Bloody Sunday.”

The marchers, organized by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), attempted to walk from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama’s capital. The Selma-to-Montgomery march was intended to draw attention to the violations of civil and voting rights in Alabama and throughout the South.

Across the nation, people watched footage of peaceful protesters beaten until they were bloody, injured, and, as was the case of legendary SNCC activist John Lewis, suffered concussions. Days later, after a second attempted march (“Turnaround Tuesday”), a white minister died from injuries suffered. This media attention galvanized the civil rights movement in the U.S.

A third march, led by Lewis, Ralph Abernathy, and Martin Luther King, Jr., reached Montgomery on March 25, 1965. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed five months later. Lewis remembers, "President [Lyndon] Johnson signed that Act, but it was written by the people of Selma."

Media Credits

The audio, illustrations, photos, and videos are credited beneath the media asset, except for promotional images, which generally link to another page that contains the media credit. The Rights Holder for media is the person or group credited.

National Geographic Society
National Geographic Society
Last Updated

January 24, 2024

For information on user permissions, please read our Terms of Service. If you have questions about how to cite anything on our website in your project or classroom presentation, please contact your teacher. They will best know the preferred format. When you reach out to them, you will need the page title, URL, and the date you accessed the resource.


If a media asset is downloadable, a download button appears in the corner of the media viewer. If no button appears, you cannot download or save the media.


Text on this page is printable and can be used according to our Terms of Service.


Any interactives on this page can only be played while you are visiting our website. You cannot download interactives.

Related Resources