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Biden to visit Selma as he pleads for suffrage



President Joe Biden will travel to Alabama on Sunday to commemorate the 58th anniversary of the historic Bloody Sunday March that galvanized the civil rights movement and helped expand voting rights.

Biden’s Selma stop comes as he and his fellow Democrats struggle to push through their own sweeping voting rights measures, with dim prospects of passing through a Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

Yet Biden plans to make fresh calls for new vote protections when he talks about the Edmund Pettus Bridge, where in 1965 a group of civil rights marchers were beaten by white state troopers as they attempted to cross.

The president will take part in the annual Bridge Walk to commemorate the events, which sparked outrage and helped rally support for the Voting Rights Act. Among the beaten protesters was the late US Representative John Lewis.

Besides her place in history, Selma is also recovering from the devastating tornadoes that hit two months ago.

This isn’t the first time Biden has attended birthday events at Selma; in 2020, during his run for president, he spoke at the historic Brown Chapel AME church as he worked to woo black voters ahead of Super Tuesday.

“We were pulled back and we lost ground. We have seen all too clearly that if you let the hate breathe, it comes back,” he said in his speech at the time.

Biden would go on to win the Democratic nomination and the presidency, largely due to his support from black voters.

Last year, Vice President Kamala Harris represented the administration at the anniversary event. She said she and Biden had ‘put all executive power behind our joint effort’ while criticizing Republican lawmakers for voting to block passage of the John Lewis Advancing Voting Rights Act. and the Freedom of Suffrage Act.

She called on those gathered at the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge “to continue to push the Senate not to allow an obscure rule to rob us of the sacred right.”

On Sunday, Biden plans to “speak about the importance of commemorating Bloody Sunday so that history cannot be erased,” according to White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

“It will underscore how integral the continued struggle for suffrage is to economic justice and civil rights for black Americans,” she said.

Bloody Sunday commemorates when, in 1965, 600 people began a march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, demanding an end to discrimination in voter registration. At the Edmund Pettus Bridge, state and local lawmen attacked the marchers with clubs and tear gas, pushing them back to Selma. Seventeen people were hospitalized and dozens more were injured by police.

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