Lynda Lowery was only 14 years old when she joined about 600 others at Selma, Alabama’s Edmund Pettus Bridge 50 years ago today (March 7, 1965). The plan was to march from Selma to the state capitol in Montgomery to protest voter discrimination. Instead, she and the others with her only made it to the end of the bridge before being brutally forced back by white policemen wielding clubs, whips, ropes, and teargas.
“On Bloody Sunday, I was very near, very near the front. I was, like, in the 19th line from the front,” she recalled in an interview with NPR on January 17, 2015. “I heard this pop pop sound. Later, I found out it was teargas. And I remember I couldn’t breathe, and I was scared. I was on my knees and somebody … started pulling me backwards. And I guess I was resisting because they grabbed the front of my lapel and I bit the hand … And I heard the horrible n-word. And I felt him hit me twice.”
As a result of the beating, Lynda had to get 7 stitches over her right eye and 28 stitches in the back of her head. Still, she ended up rejoining the march on its third — and successful — attempt from March 21 through March 25. This time, marchers were protected by U.S. Army troops and the Alabama National Guard, and Lynda became the youngest person to complete the 54-mile march from Selma to Montgomery.
Today (and every day), remember the people like Lynda who risked their lives for freedom — some just teens like you. #Selma50