In 1965, participants of the American Civil Rights Movement from around the country gathered in Selma, Alabama to walk fifty-four miles to Montgomery, Alabama. The purpose of the walk was to make a statement: to voice the need for protection of non-violent protest marchers and a federal law ensuring the right of all citizens, regardless of race, to vote in all levels of government. For those not familiar, the 14th and 15thAmendments of the Constitution, ratified ninety-five years prior to the CRM, prohibited U.S. governments (federal and state) from denying the right to vote for its citizens, including those previously counted as chattel slaves. In the intervening years numerous state and local governments, particularly in the south, established laws that effectively eliminated the possibility for African Americans to vote. The use of the legal and political structures to limit the civil rights of African Americans became more largely known as the Jim Crow laws.
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