45 years after march, Selma priest remembers Bloody Sunday





The Rev. Maurice Ouellet remembers the day vividly: March 7, 1965. As he walked out of church after serving Sunday Mass, he encountered silence. Then sirens.

Standing on the steps of St. Elizabeth's -- Selma, Alabama's "black" Catholic church -- the young white priest was about to witness one of the most iconic days of the civil rights era. It would come to be known as Bloody Sunday.

The sirens were coming from the Edmund Pettus Bridge, only a few miles away. Selma law enforcement and Alabama state police, led by Sheriff Jim Clark, had forced back nearly 600 marchers with tear gas and billy clubs.

In the days leading up to the historic march, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. had focused his nonviolent campaign for civil rights on this rural section of Alabama. By March, Selma had become ground zero in the fight to gain voting rights for blacks.




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