Emilye Crosby is a professor of history and the coordinator of Black Studies at SUNY Geneseo. She is the author of A Little Taste of Freedom (University of North Carolina Press) and the editor of Civil Rights History from the Ground Up (University of Georgia Press). She is currently a fellow at the National Humanities Center where she is working on a history of women and gender in SNCC. Read more.
On each anniversary year of the Selma-to-Montgomery March and the Voting Rights Act it helped inspire, national media focus on the iconic images of “Bloody Sunday,” the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the interracial marchers, and President Lyndon Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act. This version of history, emphasizing a top-down narrative and isolated events, reinforces the master narrative that civil rights activists describe as “Rosa sat down, Martin stood up, and the white folks came south to save the day.”
Here are 10 points to keep in mind about Selma’s civil rights history.