Pilgrimage to Selma Commemorating the 50th Anniversary

March 2015 will be the 50th anniversary celebration of the annual "Bridge Crossing of the First Selma to Montgomery March," which was an effort to restore voting rights to disenfranchised African Americans. Last year, nine (9) York students were able to attend this commemorative event. Because this is the 50th anniversary of the march, up to 30 students will have the opportunity to participate in this historic event.

Pilgrimage to Selma Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of "Bloody Sunday" March 5-8, 2015

March 2013, a contingent of nine (9) York College Students made the pilgrimage to Selma, Alabama for the Annual Bridge Crossing Jubilee which, commemorates "Bloody Sunday" - the first Selma to Montgomery march to petition the State of Alabama and the nation to restore voting rights to disenfranchised African Americans. This first attempt was brutally turned back on the Edmund Pettis Bridge (Selma, Alabama) by State Troopers with horses and billy clubs. Several marchers, including now-Congressman John Lewis, were trampled by horses, viciously beaten and some almost died. The nation and the world were shocked by the images of peaceful marchers simply attempting to have the right to vote restored in "the greatest democracy in the world." Bloody Sunday set the stage for the second march, which was led by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. this time, with the protection of federal marshals as dispatched by President Lyndon Johnson. Thousands of marchers from Alabama and the nation successfully completed the journey to the steps of the Alabama State Capitol Building in Montgomery where Dr. King delivered an impassioned appeal to the nation and the government in his speech titled, "How Long, Not Long" (March 25, 1965), to restore and protect the rights of Blacks in the South to vote. On August 6 of the same year, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965, arguably one of the most important pieces of legislation in the history of this nation.

Each year the Bridge Crossing Jubilee commemorates these historic events. In 2013, York College students, joined by President Marcia V. Keizs, made the pilgrimage to Selma, to experience this moving commemoration. This was truly a profound experience as our students had the opportunity to meet civil rights and national leaders from around the country and interacted with counter-parts from other colleges and universities.

The 50th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday will be a monumental event where civil rights and political leaders are expected to attend. The opportunity for York College students to participate in this highly anticipated event will be an experience of a lifetime.

Selection Criteria

Student must write and submit a 1,000 word maximum essay describing:

  1. Why do you want to participate in the Bridge Crossing
  2. What lesson(s) do you hope to learn from the experience
  3. How can that/those lesson(s) be applied to your educational experience at York

Thirty (30) students will be selected to attend. If more than 30 students apply and are eligible to attend, their names will be placed in a pool for random drawing.

Selection Committee:

  • Dr. Ron Daniels
  • Dr. Selena Rodgers
  • Dr. George White
  • Dean William Dinello

Essay Submission Deadline:

Essays and Application should be sent via e-mail to Ms. Erzulie Vica Mars by Friday Feburary 13, 2015 by 3:00 PM.

Students Eligibility Criteria:

  1. Submission of a 1,000 word essay by Friday Feburary 13, 2015.
  2. Student must be in good academic standing (2.0 minimum GPA).
  3. Must be a full-time student.
  4. Must be a sophomore or above.