Historic Markers Across Alabama

A Grassroots Movement

Marker ID:  
Location: 709 Martin Luther King Jr. St, Selma, AL
County: Dallas
Coordinates: N 32° 24.885    W 087° 1.076
  32.41475    -87.01793333
Style: Interpretative Sign **
Waymark: None


A Grassroots Movement
Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail

For centuries, Selma was a city where the rules of race were enforced by humiliation and fear. But Selma gave birth to one of the greatest grassroots campaigns in history—the voting rights movement. The Selma to Montgomery march was the culmination of many years of hard work by courageous souls who realized that things would never change if they did not act. The direct result of their work was passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965.

Samuel Boynton and his wife Amelia were actively registering blacks in rural Alabama in the 1930s. They founded the Dallas County Voters League (DCVL), which Mrs. Boynton and seven colleagues continued to run after Mr. Boynton's death in 1963. The group had much work to do: in the early 1960s, 57 percent of Dallas County was African American and only 1 percent of those over 21 were registered to vote. Their efforts were supported by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), which organized mass meetings and registration drives in Selma churches.

A voteless people is a hopeless people. Sign in Samuel Boynton's office

The beating of marchers by state troopers on Bloody Sunday focused national attention on the Selma voting rights campaign.

Selma children march for their parents right to vote.

2015 National Park Service, Department of the Interior.

Photographs of the marker can be found on HMDB.org

End of A Grassroots Movement