Sunday, June 8 will begin three days of observances marking 50 years since Bloody Tuesday in Tuscaloosa. On June 9, 1964, a group of African Americans set out to march from First African Baptist Church to the Tuscaloosa County Courthouse in Downtown Tuscaloosa. Police attempted to block the marchers. Ultimately, 33 people were hospitalized and 94 were arrested.
Despite the injuries and arrests, the event did not receive much media coverage. "We were a year ahead of Bloody Sunday in Selma, Alabama, and it's amazing that today, people still don't know the history of Tuscaloosa's civil rights movement," Harrison Taylor, who participated in the march as a teenager, said. Today, Taylor is President of the Tuscaloosa City Council.
Danny Steele also participated in the march as a teenager. "We have to tell this story so it won't be repeated again," Steele said. "We've come a long way, and we still have a long ways to go, but Tuscaloosa is on the move."
Taylor agrees that today's young people should know the sacrifices made during the civil rights movement. He also says it is important to appreciate the educational opportunities that are available to all young people today. "I'm so proud of my city. I was born and reared in Tuscaloosa. I'm so proud of our city, of how far we've come. You know, we have some ways to go, but we've come so far."
First African Baptist Church will host a commemorative program Sunday, June 8 at 4 p.m., with special music and guest speakers. The church will also hold a mass meeting Monday, June 9 at 6 p.m. On Tuesday, June 10 at 9 a.m., marchers will go from First African Baptist Church to the Tuscaloosa County Courthouse, marking the path of Bloody Tuesday.
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