Several years ago, on a visit to Alabama Power, Casey Sheldon (the leader of the IBEW who represents their employees) took me to Selma, Alabama. We parked and walked the Edmund Pettus Bridge, the site of the famous March 7, 1965 “Bloody Sunday” conflict, where police attacked and brutally beat Civil Rights demonstrators with horses, billy clubs, and tear gas as they were attempting to march to the state capitol. The marchers crossed the bridge again two weeks later, and successfully walked to Montgomery. Standing in that historic space, I had chills the whole time.
Earlier this year, to mark the 55th anniversary of that monumental event, the late Rep. John Lewis — who, as a young man, was badly beaten on Bloody Sunday — once again returned to the bridge. Lewis was already fighting stage 4 pancreatic cancer at the time, but he stood before the crowd and delivered what would ultimately be his final major civil rights address.
In honor of Rep. Lewis’ legacy, we listen to his powerful words, and re-commit to the fight for justice that was his life’s work.
–Tom Dalzell, IBEW 1245 Business Manager
“55 years ago, a few of our children attempted to march … across this bridge. We were beaten, we were tear-gassed. I thought I was going to die on this bridge. But somehow and someway, God almighty helped me here. We cannot give up now, we cannot give up. We must keep the faith, keep our eyes on the prize. We must go out and vote like we never, ever voted before … I’m not going to give up. I’m not going to give in. We’re going to continue to fight. We need your prayers now more than ever before … We must use the vote as a nonviolent instrument or tool to redeem the soul of America.” –Rep. John Lewis