U.S. President Barack Obama says the bridge in Selma, Alabama that sparked the 1965 Voting Rights Act did what other iconic sites such as Gettysburg had also done -- change the nation's destiny. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: U.S. President Barack Obama was in Selma, Alabama on Saturday (March 7) to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a march that sparked the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Obama, the first black U.S. president, delivered remarks at the Edmund Pettus Bridge, where police and state troopers beat and used tear gas against peaceful marchers who were advocating against racial discrimination at the voting booth. He said the bridge joins other sites such as Gettysburg that helped determine the nation's future. "Many are sites of war - Concord and Lexington, Appomattox and Gettysburg. Others are sites that symbolize the daring of America's character - Independence Hall and Seneca Falls, Kitty Hawk and Cape Canaveral," Obama said. "Selma is such a place". "In one afternoon fifty years ago, so much of our turbulent history - the stain of slavery and anguish of civil war; the yoke of segregation and tyranny of Jim Crow; the death of four little girls in Birmingham, and the dream of a Baptist preacher - met on this bridge," Obama continued. The event became known as "Bloody Sunday" and prompted a follow-up march led by civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. Obama also called on Americans to carry forward the spirit of the Civil Rights Movement The anniversary comes at a time of renewed focus on racial disparities in the United States including discrimination among law enforcement against black citizens nationwide.