Press Releases

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Terri Sewell applauded the unanimous passage of H.R. 431, a bipartisan bill she introduced to award a Congressional Gold Medal to the brave Foot Soldiers whose perilous journey from Selma to Montgomery led to the passage of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965.  

“Voting is the most fundamental right we share as Americans. We owe a debt of gratitude to the brave Foot Soldiers who dared to march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in the face of extreme racial hostility. We should never forget the sacrifices they made so this nation could live up to its ideals of equality and justice for all. The Congressional Gold medal is a great reminder of the power of ordinary Americans to collectively achieve extraordinary social change. This nation should never forget those who marched, prayed and died in the pursuit of civil and voting rights. While we can never truly repay the Foot Soldiers for the sacrifices they made, we can offer a down payment by continuing to fight against injustice wherever it exists,” said Rep. Terri Sewell.

“I am deeply humbled by the strong bipartisan support H.R. 431 received, and would like to thank Representative Martha Roby and all of the members of the Alabama Congressional delegation for standing with me in support of this bill. The Congressional Gold Medal should serve as a compelling reminder of the sacrifices that each and every Foot Soldier made so that all Americans could enjoy the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution,” added Rep. Sewell.

Representative Martha Roby (R-AL), whose district includes parts of Montgomery, is an original sponsor of the bill along with Representative Sewell.

"I’m proud to be part of this bill to honor the legacy of the brave individuals who took a stand for equal rights in Alabama against brutality and oppression. I want to thank my friend, Terri Sewell for her leadership and hard work on this bill, and thanks as well to all who signed on as co-sponsors,” said Rep. Martha Roby.

About the Congressional Gold Medal

Since the American Revolution, Congress has commissioned gold medals as its highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions by individuals or institutions. The medal was first awarded in 1776 by the second Continental Congress to General George Washington.

About the March from Selma to Montgomery in 1965

Civil rights activists were brutally attacked by Alabama state troopers on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma on March 7, 1965. This day, now known as Bloody Sunday, was the first of three planned, peaceful protests from Selma to Montgomery. Nearly 2,500 Foot Soldiers led by Dr. Martin Luther King attempted a second march two days later on March 9, 1965, now known as “Turnaround Tuesday.” An estimated 8,000 Foot Soldiers left Selma on March 21, 1965, and successfully marched to Montgomery to peacefully protest restrictive voting laws that prevented African-Americans from voting in the South. 

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