Every year in Selma, thousands of people and public figures gather for the Bridge Crossing Jubilee to commemorate the 58th anniversary of Bloody Sunday and the march from Selma to Montgomery that followed. From a Miss Jubilee Pageant to a commemorative march, there are events happening all weekend long. Read on for details.
History of The Jubilee
Selma was a key battleground and turning point for the civil rights movement. On March 7, 1965, a group of over 500 Black demonstrators marched to demand the right to vote. Starting at Browns Chapel in Selma, they only made it about six blocks to the Edmund Pettus Bridge before they were met with more than 50 state troopers and a few dozen postmen on horseback.
When they refused to turn back, they were met with brutal attacks that shocked the nation. Two weeks after the violent attacks, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led over 3,200 civil rights protesters from Selma to Montgomery. Now known as Bloody Sunday, the events were a catalyst for the Voting Rights Act.
Every year, the nonprofit organization Bridge Crossing Jubilee, Inc. hosts the weekend-long commemoration at the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge. For decades, civic, political and national leaders have traveled to Selma for this festival of music, art and historical remembrance.
While most activities are free, some require registration or paid tickets in advance. All tickets are available online.
Word on the street is President Biden is set to make an appearance at this year’s Jubilee. Here are some highlights of what’s going on this weekend:
Friday, March 3
- 7-9PM: Catch a film screening of Freedom Riders: Carrying Forward Their Legacy, followed by a Q&A with the director, civil rights activist Bernard Lafayette and freedom rider Joan Trumpauer Mulholland. Walton Theater, 1000 Selma Ave, Selma, AL 36701
- 7-9PM: Join the public conversation “Rebuilding Selma” with tornado victims from the destructive January tornado, Rev. Dr. William J. Barber and Rev. Mark Thompson. Dallas County Courthouse, 105 Lauderdale Street, Selma, AL
Saturday, March 4
- 8-10AM: Attend the annual Foot Soldiers Breakfast to hear activists who participated in the first Bloody Sunday share their testimonies. At least $5 donation required for entry. Selma High School, 2180 Broad St, Selma, AL 36701
- 8-10AM: Catch the Jubilee Parade, starting at Concordia College (1712 Broad St.) and continuing to Edmund Pettus Bridge.
- 8-10AM: Watch local bands perform at the Battle of the Bands, located in the parking lot of School of Discovery, 400 Washington Street.
- 11AM-7PM: Shop local vendors, grab a souvenir and have a bite to eat at the Jubilee Street Festival. Admission is free and special guests include Lenny Williams and Scrappy from Love & Hip Hop. Located at the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge.
- 6-8PM: Watch the annual Miss Jubilee Pageant. Prizes will be awarded to a first, second and third-place winner, along with a talent winner. Contestants are awarded trophies, cash prizes and the chance to be featured in multiple Jubilee events. Selma High School, 2180 Broad St, Selma, AL 36701
Sunday, March 5
- 7-9:30AM: The annual Martin & Coretta King Unity Breakfast will feature Google’s Global Head of Social Impact Reginald McKnight as a special guest speaker. Wallace Community College, 3000 Earl Goodwin Pkwy, Selma, AL 36703.
- 4-6:30PM: Gather for a special Tribute to the Footsoldiers Gospel Concert featuring performances from The Anointed Brown Sisters and Jasmine Williams. Edmund Pettus Bridge, Water Avenue, Selma, AL 36701
- 5:30-7PM: Honor community leaders in Selma at the Bridge Awards, the final event of the commemorative weekend. Selma Center for Nonviolence, Truth, & Reconciliation, 8 Mulberry Rd, Selma, AL 36703.
There are several more speakers, events and activities to participate in throughout the weekend, check out the full schedule here.
In Selma for the weekend? Here are some other landmarks to explore:
- Brown Chapel AME Church
- Lowndes Interpretive Center
- National Voting Rights Museum and Institute
- Selma Interpretive Center
- Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail
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