Thomas R. Wagy


On Tuesday, March 9, 1965, a bright sun shone on Selma, Alabama, replacing the gray, gloomy weather which had blanketed the city for days. Despite the sixty degree temperature, the air held a winter crispness. Most of the people gathered at Brown’s Chapel wore heavy overcoats and gloves. The nervous conversations grew into an expectant murmur and then applause as a young black man came into view. He walked among the crowd, touched the extended hands, and moved to the church steps to speak. He was their leader. Arguments about whether or not to march ended. They would abide by his decision. The deep, resonant voice of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., boomed out across the churchyard proclaiming, “I have no alternative but to lead a march from this spot to carry our grievances to the seat of government. I have made my choice. I have got to march.“