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publically ban racial integration of the University (the ban was unsuccessful, but he was widely popular). This came after a JFK speech calling for the need for racial equality. A day later, civil rights advocator and director within the NAACP Medgar Evers was assassinated in the driveway of his home in Mississippi for his civil rights efforts. Another leader and activist of the civil rights movement was John Lewis. Born in Alabama whose parents were sharecroppers, John Lewis became a contemporary of Martin Luther King Jr.
and chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) According to Meacham (2018), he was beaten and arrested across the South as a participant in the Freedom Rides, and most noted for his participation in the voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965. This march was later to be known as "Bloody Sunday" for the vicious attack on protesters by Alabama state troopers. The impromptu march was a fifty-four-mile walk from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama organized to draw national attention to southern African-American’s disenfranchisement and to protest the death of a young civil rights activist shot by police during a demonstration in a neighboring city. Lewis ' group, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), had worked to register voters in Selma. They hadn't been very far away. 5Just 383 of the 15,000 black residents of Selma's Dallas County had been registered to vote at the time of the march. Lewis was already twenty times imprisoned by white segregationists at 25, and severely beaten during South Carolina and Montgomery Freedom Rides. Lewis along with Hosea Williams, a former assistant to Martin Luther King Jr., led 600 local residents to march in two single-file lines on that rainy Sunday afternoon. When they crossed the Alabama River on Selma's Edmund Pettus Bridge, Alabama state troops paraded in with batons and bullwhips on the marchers; a lot of the protesters were trampled on by horseback riding policemen, and choked by pollution from tear gas. Lewis, who suffered a fractured skull from a clubbing, thought he was going to die. The prime time network news that evening showed detailed clips of what came to be known as "Bloody Sunday." 5McMahon, Thomas F. (2004). Ethical Leadership Through Transforming Justice. University Press of America. p. 25. ISBN 0-7618-2908-3.
These scenes "struck with the force of an instant cultural classic," historian Taylor Branch wrote. Before the passing of both the Civil Rights Act, and later the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the country was in a state of division and hate. Segregation hatred was running rampant in the South. Scenes like the massacre on the Pettus Bridge, as well as seeing what the Freedom riders suffered, helped shift the nation’s opinion about race and equality. Hosea Williams, can also be singled out as a civil rights leader. Hosea Williams, a civil rights activist and chairman of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) who marched alongside John Lewis in Selma, was considered by Dr. King to be his chief field lieutenant. Born in Attapulgus, Georgia, he remained a controversial and outspoken figure