Preloading

The Selma High School Class of 1971 Looks Back on the Ups and Downs of the Civil Rights Marches

The Selma High School Class of 1971:

James Perkins Jr., 61
Location: Selma, Alabama

Chanette Thompson, 61
Location: Alpharetta, Georgia

Rose Wilkins, 62
Location: Smyrna, Georgia

Joseph Smith, 62
Location: Lawrenceville, Georgia

Interview facilitated by Joseph Smith and Charles Williams


For many people who graduated high school in Selma, Alabama, in 1971, the civil rights marches of the '60s included both painful and uplifting moments. The trek that brought about historic voting legislation began in their city, where protesters met, bonded and, ultimately, started a series of marches to the state Capitol in Montgomery. People remember a lot of positivity and hope, especially in the peaceful singing and training done at Brown Chapel A.M.E. Church, a central meeting place for the protesters. They also recall the frightening events of "Bloody Sunday," when police and marchers clashed violently. Watch as members of the Selma High School Class of 1971—including James Perkins Jr., Chanette Thompson, Rose Wilkins and Joseph Smith—look back on the turbulent events of their childhood.

Hear more stories from people who were at the ground level of the civil rights marches
Published 01/12/2015
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