50th Anniversary of Dr. King's March, Bennie Lee Tucker on Dr. King, Birmingham airport traffic
Even though it is Monday today marks the 50th anniversary of Turnaround Tuesday. On this day fifty years ago Martin Luther King Junior led marchers halfway across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma.
Tens of thousands of people were in Selma to remember the events on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Fifty years ago marchers were set upon by law enforcement officers and a sheriff’s posse. Two days later they tried again, this time lead by Martin Luther King Junior. They stopped halfway across the bridge to pray then turned back. This weekend President Obama spoke about the march for voting rights and how the Voting Rights Act needs to be restored…
“100 members of congress have come here today to honor people who were willing to die for the right to protect it, if we want to honor this day let that hundred go back to Washington and gather four hundred more and together pledge to make it their mission to restore that law this year.”
Two years ago the U.S. supreme court overturned a key provision of the Voting Rights Act when Shelby County challenged that portions of the act were unconstitutional.
Selma city council man Bennie Lee Tucker was one of the civil rights foot soldiers honored by President Obama over the weekend.
He's a Selma city councilman now, and he remembers Turnaround Tuesday as much as "bloody Sunday. Dr. Martin Luther King and the marchers turned back before State troopers could attack like they did during “bloody Sunday.”
Tucker was a college student in 1965. He was asked to be King’s bodyguard in case of snipers. Tucker says he said yes and it was all worth it…
“At that time, we’d been singing song…we shall overcome…and before I become a slave, and be dead and buried in my grave. And we’re going to let nobody turn us around, no more Governor Wallace, no more white folk.”
President Obama signed a bill awarding the Selma marchers the Congressional Gold medal.
Birmingham's airport has begun the year with an increase in passenger traffic.
Al.com reports that January's traffic at Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport amounted to 187,392 passengers.
That is an increase of 3.3 percent -- or about 6,000 more travelers than in January 2014. In January 2014, passenger traffic was affected somewhat by a rare closure of the airport's main runway due to a snowstorm late in the month.
Among airlines operating in Birmingham, United Express posted the largest increase over the past 12 months, with 20.7 percent more passengers in January compared to January 2014.