Dr Martin Luther King, Coretta Scott King, Dr Ralph David Abernathy, Juanita Abernathy
Dr. and Mrs. Martin Luther King with Dr. Ralph David Abernathy and his wife Mrs. Juanita Abernathy, the Abernathy children and others as they march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965. Photo credit: Abernathy Family / Wikimedia

Selma, Alabama, was perhaps the climax of the Civil Rights movement. On the 51st anniversary of that famed march, we take a moment to reflect on some of Dr. Martin Luther King’s most extraordinary oratory, which is so very relevant today.

Fifty-one years ago today, a peaceful march of civil rights supporters that began in Selma, Alabama, was violently halted when demonstrators tried to cross Edmund Pettus Bridge. The photos and videos of “Bloody Sunday” went around the world and provided undeniable proof of the brutality used to stop the civil rights movement.

In one particularly striking passage, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. both virtually predicted his own death and said it was better than doing nothing.

“A man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right, a man dies when he refuses to stand up for justice, a man dies when he refuses to take a stand for that which is true,” Dr. King said in a speech the day after the march.

The video below shows excerpts from three of Dr. Martin Luther King’s speeches from Selma.

And for more breathtaking images, please see our earlier story, Martin Luther King Also Had a Nightmare. It features rare photos and artwork documenting the plight of African-Americans in the US.

Related front page panorama photo credit: Alabama officers await demonstrators at the Edmund Pettus Bridge (U.S. Department of Justice / Wikimedia)

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