“At that time, we’d been singing songs, we shall overcome, and before I’d be a slave…be dead and buried in my grave,” says Bennie Lee Tucker. He’s seventy four years old, and he spent the last fifty five of those years here in Selma. “And we gonna let nobody turn us around, no more Governor Wallace…no more white folk,” he says.

On the front porch of his home on Eugene Avenue, Tucker recalls March 7th, 1965. It was the height of the voting rights movement. Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior wasn’t the name on everyone’s mind that day.


The Selma City Council is declaring March 15th to be "F.D. Reese Day" in the community. Frederick Douglas Reese was 88 when he died in 2018. He had been part of the "Courageous Eight" who played a key role in inviting the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to Selma to join the fight to ensure voting rights for all. The works of Reese and his peers led to the Selma-to-Montgomery marches.

Wikimedia Commons


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Religious faith was a lifelong constant for Rep. John Lewis. 

He spent his boyhood in Alabama preaching to a make-believe congregation of chickens and siblings. He went on to be inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and to learn nonviolence protests tactics from ministers and other teachers.


SELMA, Ala. (AP) — On the day that became known as Bloody Sunday, John Lewis and a line of nonviolent marchers were beaten and tear-gassed by Alabama state troopers in Selma. 

The state-sanctioned violence at the Edmund Pettus Bridge stunned the nation and helped spur the passage of the federal Voting Rights Act. It also propelled Lewis on to a global stage as a hero of the U.S. civil rights movement.

Updated at 7 a.m. ET Saturday

John Lewis — an icon of the civil rights movement, congressman and, for decades, a force in Democratic politics — died at age 80 on Friday.

Lewis had been treated for advanced-stage pancreatic cancer after being diagnosed during a routine medical exam. He publicly disclosed his diagnosis in late December.


SELMA, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama lumber and flooring company has been fined $218,000 in the death of a worker hit by wood while trying to clear a jammed machine. 


SELMA, Ala. (AP) — Residents in the landmark civil rights city of Selma, Alabama, are among the critics of a bid to rename the historic bridge where voting rights marchers were beaten in 1965.

Online petitions have circulated for years to rename the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma for Congressman John Lewis. Pettus was a white supremacist, and Lewis was beaten on the bridge 55 years ago.

National Transportation Safety Board


SELMA, Ala. (AP) — Authorities say two people are dead after a single-engine airplane crashed in rural western Alabama. 

News outlets report a Piper PA-32 aircraft went down a few miles outside Selma on Wednesday afternoon.

Dallas County Coroner Alan Dailey says the pilot and a passenger were killed. Neither person was from the area, but Dailey didn’t immediately release the names of the victims.

St. James Hotel
Tina Turner

An APR News Feature

This is perhaps Selma at its busiest. This is the 55th Selma Jubilee, a citywide observance of Bloody Sunday. That’s when voting rights marchers were beaten and teargassed on the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

Reverend Michael Bowen is among those setting their vendor tents before people start piling in. We are standing in eye shot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge. But it’s the building a block and a half over that we’re here to talk about. Bowen says the St. James Hotel is closed down, but under renovation.

Associated Press

MARION, Ala. (AP) — As the 55th anniversary of the civil rights clash known as Bloody Sunday approaches, townspeople in Alabama want to remind the world that the road to Selma began in a place called Marion.

In 1965, in what has become a footnote to history, a young black man by the name of Jimmie Lee Jackson was fatally shot at a protest in Marion. It was that killing that sent hundreds of people to Selma for a march at the Edmund Pettus Bridge two weeks later.

SELMA, Ala. (AP) — Democratic presidential hopefuls are coming to Selma on Sunday as part of their final push before Super Tuesday.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Tom Steyer  are scheduled to visit Selma.

The candidates are attending the 55th anniversary of "Bloody Sunday" the infamous 1965 march in which civil rights demonstrators were beaten on the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

Selma University
Selma University

SELMA, Ala. (AP) — Another small, historically black college is in financial trouble in west Alabama.  The Selma Times-Journal reports that Selma University is hosting an event Saturday to raise money that's needed to pay off a more than $785,000 debt to the federal government.  The school is trying to raise $2 million total.

Alabama Supreme Court
Chris Pruitt / Wikimedia

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The Alabama Supreme Court has sided with the Selma City Council in a power struggle with the mayor over who can appoint department heads.

Justices on Friday upheld a judge's decision dismissing the lawsuit filed by Selma Mayor Darrio Melton that challenged the city ordinance approved by council members.

The Selma City Council in 2018 passed an ordinance removing Melton's authority to appoint a police chief, fire chief and tax collector.

“Selma: A Bicentennial History”

Author: Alston Fitts III

Publisher: University of Alabama Press

Pages: 360

$39.95 (Cloth)

Alston Fitts, originally from Tuscaloosa, has lived and worked in Selma since the early 1970s. A trained scholar with a PhD from the University of Chicago, Fitts is an excellent choice for this one-volume, richly illustrated history of Selma.

Associated Press

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — A new project is highlighting some of the places in Alabama that played a role in the civil rights movement.

An online, oral history presentation called "Voices of Alabama" features photos of historic sites and interviews with some of the people who worked with the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s. The state was a hotbed of the movement at the time.

The website went online Wednesday.

SELMA, Ala. (AP) — Efforts are underway to raise funds to restore a Jewish temple in Alabama.

WSFA-TV reports Temple Mishkan Israel has sat along Broad Street in Selma since 1899.

SELMA, Ala. (AP) — The federal government is giving the city of Selma a $1 million emergency grant to combat violent crimes and gangs.

The Montgomery Advertiser reports the grant is expected to last 18 months. It's supposed to cover police equipment and overtime costs associated with increased patrolling.

U.S. Attorney Richard Moore announced the grant at a press conference Tuesday alongside community members affected by gang violence. He says the initiative is aimed at removing what he calls "trigger-pullers" from the streets.

SELMA, Ala. (AP) — A real estate investor says it is loaning a hotel operator $3.4 million to buy a historic hotel in Selma.

American South Real Estate Fund said Monday that it has closed a loan with Rhaglan Hospitality to fund the purchase of the St. James Hotel.

Birmingham-based Rhaglan says it plans to operate the hotel as part of Hilton's Tapestry Collection.

Joan Baez Launches Farewell Tour in Alabama

Apr 8, 2019

Singer, songwriter and activist Joan Baez has been thrilling audiences – and making them think – for over sixty years now.

Her music has become a soundtrack for nonviolence, civil rights and environmentalism – and she was one of the first artists to record and advocate for the work of a then much less popular Bob Dylan in the early 1960s.

Baez released her latest album, "Whistle Down the Wind", in March of last year – her first in nearly a decade. And she’s embarking on a tour that she says will be her last.

16th Street Baptist Church bombing

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Dozens of members of Congress are making a weekend-long civil rights pilgrimage through Alabama, visiting spots that were instrumental in the fight for equality decades ago.

The mostly Democratic group made its first stop Friday at Birmingham's 16th Street Baptist Church, where four black girls died in a Ku Klux Klan bombing in 1963.

Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, who was once beaten by Alabama troopers while trying to march for voting rights, walked slowly up the church's stone steps.


MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker is delivering the keynote address at a Selma church during the annual commemoration of the "Bloody Sunday" civil rights march.

Booker will speak at the Brown Chapel AME Church in Selma on March 3. His campaign announced the appearance Friday.

Booker is one of several Democrats attending the event which often draws national political figures.

Selma Officials to Close Two Schools

Jan 24, 2019

Leaders of Selma's shrinking school system have decided to shut down two schools in the west Alabama city.

WAKA-TV reports Cedar Park Elementary School and Byrd First Class Learning Center will close after the school year ends.

The president of the Selma City School Board, Johnny Moss, says other schools could also be closed in coming years.

Selma currently operates a dozen schools with capacity for about 8,000 students, but its current enrollment is around 3,000. Moss says the city needs to "right-size" its school system.

Edmund Pettus Bridge
Alex AuBuchon / APR

The treasurer of the city of Selma is suing to be reinstated to her position, even as city officials continue to wrangle with a budget crisis that sparked 68 layoffs.

Local news outlets report Selma Treasurer Ronita Wade sued Tuesday in Dallas County Circuit Court demanding reinstatement to her position. Wade had been placed on leave three times since 2017 by Selma Mayor Darrio Melton.

Melton says Wade is under investigation for criminal misconduct. Wade says she is unaware of any such investigation.

Jackson House
Alex AuBuchon / APR

Wednesday, April 4 marks the fiftieth anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior’s assassination. For the past month, the Alabama Public Radio news team has been examining Dr. King’s work and his impact here in Alabama. You’ve heard a photographer from Montgomery recall documenting King’s work. APR guest reporter Ousmane Sagara shared how people in his nation of Mali remember Dr. King. You also heard about the house where King hid from white supremacists, just days before his assassination. Now APR’s Alex AuBuchon reports on another place in Alabama closely connected to Dr. King, and how his influence is being felt by a new generation…

"We remember Dr. King, too." An audio postcard from West Africa

Apr 1, 2018

This Wednesday marks fifty years since the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior. Throughout March, the APR news team is reporting on King’s work and impact here in Alabama. The event is being remembered in the United States, but not just in the U.S. Alabama Public Radio participated in a visiting journalist program last year with the West African nation of Mali. That’s where the APR news team met Ousmane Sagara. His home country has its own relationship with Dr. King. We invited Sagara to file this report from Mali’s capitol city.

Sanders Won't Seek Tenth Term in Senate

Feb 12, 2018
Hank Sanders
via Twitter

Alabama's longest-serving state senator says he has decided to step aside in favor of his daughter.

Senator Hank Sanders announced Saturday that he will not be seeking a 10th term in office. He says his daughter, Malika Sanders-Fortier, will run in his place for the Senate District 23 seat, which covers the Selma area.

As the nation honors Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior this weekend, southern states are banding together to promote civil rights tourism. Fourteen states stretching from Kansas to Delaware, including all of the Deep South, are joining to promote the U.S. Civil Rights Trail. The monument highlights about one hundred and thirty sites linked to the modern civil rights movement. The list includes the hotel in Memphis where Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated to the birthplace of the confederacy. The joint effort is being unveiled as part of the MLK holiday weekend.

Stan Ingold

Editor’s Note: Since it is Halloween, APR brought up this story from our archives to take a look at the haunted history of the state. This story first aired in October of 2011.

Selma is one of Alabama’s oldest cities, as well as one of the most historic.  During this Halloween season, a number of ghost stories include Selma. Yesterday, Alabama Public Radio’s Stan Ingold told us about efforts to popularize the state’s so called ghost trail. Selma is considered one of Alabama’s most haunted cities…

A new state law restores voting rights for many people with felony convictions, and two legal groups will be holding clinics this summer to make sure those people are registered to vote.

The ACLU of Alabama and Legal Services of Alabama both plan to hold a series of “restoration clinics” at churches in Birmingham, Mobile and Selma this summer.

Selma School Superintendent Suspended

May 11, 2017

The superintendent of Selma’s city school system has been placed on administrative leave for reportedly violating her contract.

The Selma Times-Journal reports Angela Mangum was suspended earlier this week after failing to notify Selma’s school board she was pursuing other employment opportunities.