Biden comments on civil rights and Selma, Bloody Sunday anniversary, Montgomery music premiere

Mar 6, 2015

Vice President Joe Biden says the same human rights that African Americans fought for in Selma, Alabama, are at stake for gay rights activists today.

Biden is drawing parallels between the civil rights and gay rights movements in a speech to the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights group.

He says Selma and Stonewall were "basically the same movement." He's referring to 1969 Stonewall Inn riots that marked the symbolic start of the modern gay rights movement.

His remarks come on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the historic march from Selma to Montgomery.

This weekend tens of thousands of people will make their way Selma to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of Bloody Sunday. This means a lot a work for city workers to prepare for the crowds. James Benderson is the director of city planning and development for Selma. He says they have a lot of help…

“We have state police agencies, a lot of the local police municipalities within the area will be helping out, we have the national parks service helping out, so it’s a collaborative effort between a lot of different agencies making it work out for everybody.”

Political leaders including President Obama, former president George W. Bush and members of Congress are expected to be in Selma this weekend as well.

Montgomery will be hosting a musical world premiere tonight as Alabama gets ready to remember the civil rights event known as "Bloody Sunday."

Composer Mohammed Fairouz* wrote the piece titled Deep Rivers. It's inspired by the end of the Civil War and the civil rights movement. The piece will be performed by the Grammy-nominated wind quintet Imani** Winds and  baritone vocalist Sidney Outlaw.

Elements of the piece include re-imaginings of negro spirituals and poetry by Langston Hughes. Fairouz says premiering the work in Montgomery is a big deal.

“The overwhelming majority of world premieres happen in New York City. And the ones that aren’t happening in New York City happen in places like L.A. and Chicago. So having a world premiere happen in Montgomery, Alabama is an important thing and hopefully the beginning of a trend.”

The world premiere of Deep Rivers will be tonight at 8 PM at the Warehouse at Alley Station in downtown Montgomery.