Selma native remembers historic protest march 50 years ago

Selma native remembers historic protest march 50 years ago

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - A Selma, AL native, now living in Columbus is remembering "Bloody Sunday" as one of the original marchers from 50 years ago.

"I had no idea how far the movement would take us," said Frances Montgomery Steele.

Frances Montgomery Steele was just 14 years old when she marched across Selma's historic Edmund Pettus bridge in 1965.

Born and raised in Selma, Alabama, Steele says she was part of many organizations years earlier, leading up to "Bloody Sunday".

"I was active with SNCC in 1962 when we began meeting there at Tabernacle Baptist Church on Broad Street and it went from there," said Steele.

50 years ago, Steele left school for the day and joined several others fighting to win federal voting rights for African-Americans.

"I'm going to march across that bridge. And that's exactly what we did. We lined up peacefully and marched across that bridge and I went as far as the first campsite," said Steele.

And Steele says the experience was worth the struggle.

"So we had to put the fear aside and we had to do what was right for us at the time. And I'm just grateful it was my time to be there," Steele expressed.

And Steele watched many of the events from home this year and she wears her anniversary shirt proudly. She didn't make the trip, but she says many of her family and friends are walking for her in Selma.

"It's good to have representation of the new generation cause they were not born when this happened. To have the first black president of the United States and G.W.Bush with him, it was a momentous moment," said Steele.

While aboard Air Force One Saturday, President Barack Obama signed into law a bill awarding Congressional Gold Medals to those who marched in Selma in 1965.

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