- Associated Press - Sunday, March 6, 2016

SELMA, Ala. (AP) - Selma on Sunday marked the 51st anniversary of the voting rights demonstration that came to be known as “Bloody Sunday.”

U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, one of the demonstrators beaten in Selma on March 7, 1965, recalled the beatings in a speech at a Selma church, The Selma Times-Journal (https://bit.ly/1QAlr5Q ) reported. Lewis urged the crowd to keep fighting for justice and not to be afraid to stir up “good trouble” in the sake of justice.

“They came toward us, beating us with nightsticks, trampling us with horses and releasing their tear gas. I was hit in the head with a trooper with a nightstick. My legs went from under me. I thought I was going to die I thought I saw death,” Lewis told the crowd at Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church, according to the newspaper.

The beating of peaceful protesters on the city’s Edmund Pettus Bridge set the stage for the Selma-to-Montgomery march and helped galvanize support for congressional approval of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Lewis said when he was young, some people urged him to accept segregation as a fact of life and not to “stir up trouble.” However, the Georgia congressman said sometimes trouble is necessary in the fight for justice.

“It’s time for all of us to get in trouble. Good trouble. Necessary trouble,” Lewis said.

The Bridge Crossing Jubilee marks the anniversary of Bloody Sunday each year. The event, as it always does, culminated with a march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

President Barack Obama and the first family traveled to Selma last year for the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday.

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