This Day in History: 1965-03-23
Day 3 of the 5-day, 54-mile Selma to Montgomery March, taking place March 21-25. This third and final Selma voting rights march followed the earlier March 7, “Bloody Sunday” march, and the March 9, “Turnaround Tuesday” march.On the preceding day (March 21), approximately 8,000 marchers walked along Highway-80 from Selma to Lowndes County. In 1965, the road to Montgomery was four lanes wide going east from Selma, then narrowed to two lanes through Lowndes County, and widened to four lanes again at the Montgomery county border. Under the terms of a court order, the march was limited to no more than 300 participants for the two days they were on the two-lane portion of Highway-80. At the end of the first day (March 21), most of the marchers returned to Selma by bus and car, leaving 300 to camp overnight and take up the journey the next two days. On March 22 and 23, 300 protesters marched through chilling rain across Lowndes County, camping at three sites in muddy fields. At the time of the march, the population of Lowndes County was 81% black and 19% white, but not a single black was registered to vote. There were 2,240 whites registered to vote in Lowndes County, a figure that represented 118% of the adult white population (in many Southern counties of that era it was common practice to retain white voters on the rolls after they died or moved away). Learn more.