The Rev. Dr. Robert A. Colman, 76
Location: East Montpelier, Vermont
Interview facilitated by Stephen Colman and Ursula Williams
On March 7, 1965, protesters marching for civil rights from Selma, Alabama, to the state Capitol in Montgomery were violently confronted by law enforcement in a conflict that became known as "Bloody Sunday." For the Rev. Dr. Robert A. Colman and many others across the country, the tragic event served as a wake-up call. The Rev. Colman, who had recently been made an assistant minister at the First Presbyterian Church in Warren, Pennsylvania, decided it was time to join the movement.
After arriving in Selma, the Rev. Colman and his brother-in-law joined a group who decided to picket a white community, which Robert says was illegal at the time. "I remember clearly turning the corner and seeing the phalanx of citizens waiting to abuse or do whatever they chose to do to us," the Rev. Colman says. "But I also remember a great calmness. There was absolutely no fear at all walking down that street."
Watch as the Rev. Colman explains how that calmness gave way to fear and anxiety when the police arrived.
Hear more stories from people who were at the ground level of the civil rights marches