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Jimmie Lee and James: Two Lives, Two Deaths,…
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Jimmie Lee and James: Two Lives, Two Deaths, and the Movement that Changed…

by Steve Fiffer

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"Bloody Sunday"--March 7, 1965--was a pivotal moment in the civil rights struggle. Days earlier, during the crackdown on another protest in nearby Marion, a state trooper, claiming self-defense, shot Jimmie Lee Jackson, a 26-year-old unarmed deacon and civil rights protester. Jackson's subsequent death spurred local civil rights leaders to make the march to Montgomery; when that day also ended in violence, the call went out to activists across the nation to join in the next attempt. One of the many who came down was a minister from Boston named James Reeb. Shortly after his arrival, he was attacked in the street by racist vigilantes, eventually dying of his injuries. Lyndon Johnson evoked Reeb's memory when he brought his voting rights legislation to Congress, and the national outcry over the brutal killings ensured its passage.… (more)

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