What were the gains made and the losses suffered during the march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965?
The march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965 was one of the most resounding successes for the Civil Rights Movement and for its leadership, especially Martin Luther King. The marches, and the violent reaction of the Alabama state troopers and local policemen, played out on national television, creating widespread sympathy for the cause. The Johnson administration, having already passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which essentially banned segregation in most contexts, responded to the events in Selma by pushing the Voting Rights Act of 1965 through Congress. Johnson himself gave a national address in which he made common cause with the marchers. Selma was a major victory for non-violent, direct action made possible by a combination of grassroots organizing and strong leadership, although King himself was not in Selma for part of the events. The losses included the dozens of people who were injured by the police attacks on the marchers, as well as one white woman who was shot to death by white supremacists while driving protesters home from Selma.