Selma to Montgomery: Pivotal in Civil Rights

The Vote in Selma
In 1961, there were 15,000 black people old enough to vote living in Dallas County, Alabama
Bettmann / Corbis

The Vote in Selma
Of the 15,000 black people old enough to vote living in and around Selma, Alabama in 1961, only 130 were actually registered on voter rolls. Beginning in 1963, civil rights groups like the Dallas County Voters League and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) began organizing voter registration drives in Selma and the surrounding regions, but their efforts were thwarted by local law enforcement officers like Dallas County Sherriff James Clark, who, in the February 1965 photo above, instructs blacks seeking to register to leave the county courthouse. When they refused, over 100 were arrested.

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