Tens of thousands pour into Selma for 50th anniversary

By Bryan Henry
March 6, 2015

SELMA, AL (WSFA) - Jim Turner Sr. is a retired attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice. Turner was one of several attorneys who prosecuted three members of the Ku Klux Klan connected to the murder of civil rights activist Viola Liuzzo 50 years ago.

"When Mrs. Liuzzo was killed they called and I came down the next day to investigate her death," Turner said.

Turner is in Selma this weekend along with tens of thousands of people celebrating and remembering the 50th anniversary of the civil rights march.

On the Edmund Pettus Bridge we found Patti Jackson from Atlanta. Jackson was only 8 years old on Bloody Sunday. Jackson admitted the clash between state troopers and civil rights marchers didn't really sink in until years later.

"But I knew watching my grandparents how quiet they got.. watching all the people get injured," Jackson said.

Los Angeles is a long way from Selma but close enough for Erica Goebel, a retired school teacher taking a tour of the country. Goebel made Selma one of her stops.

"In 1965 I was in high school. It kind of floated over my head at that time. I was aware of Martin Luther King's assassination, but as a teacher and as an adult that was my history and I wanted to go back, learn it and see it for myself," Goebel said.

And then there was John Anderson of Philadelphia. We found Anderson near the bridge chatting with other visitors in town. This is Anderson's fourth trip to Selma. He felt the need to be in Selma again to soak in a major part of American history 50 years later.

"Dr. King made a giant step to better conditions and improved our laws," Anderson said.

Visitors like Anderson are part of what Selma leaders believe will be an estimated crowd of anywhere between 50,000 to 100,000 people this weekend.

President Barack Obama will arrive on Saturday along with former President George Bush.

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