Historic Markers Across Alabama

Turning Point

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


Turning Point
Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail

By early 1964, the Dallas County Voters League (DCVL) and Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee's (SNCC) efforts to organize for voting rights had reached a turning point. In July 1964 Judge James Hare, pressured by Selma law enforcement to quell black protests, imposed an injunction prohibiting mass meetings. The DCVL knew they must break the injunction or lose momentum for the movement, but they needed more power than SNCC. They needed the support of a national organization. So they called on civil rights leader Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Reverend King accepted the DCVL's invitation and brought the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) into Selma. King's speech at Brown Chapel in January 1965 violated the injunction issued by Judge Hare and increased attention to a community-based campaign for voting rights. Brown Chapel, which broke the law by opening its doors to King, became the base for future voting rights demonstrations in Selma.

When we get the right to vote, we will send to the statehouse not men who will stand in the doorways of universities to keep Negroes out, but men who will uphold the cause of Justice. Give us the ballot. Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. speech at Brown Chapel, January 1965.
James Bevel, February 26, 1965

Alabama deputies line up to contain crowds of protesters outside Brown Chapel.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. pauses in front of the Hotel Albert, January 22, 1965. King challenged segregation barriers by registering at the historic hotel and then leading a march to register blacks at the county courthouse.

2015 National Park Service, Department of the Interior.

Photographs of the marker can be found on HMDB.org

End of Turning Point