Throwback Thursday: Detroit marches in support of Selma

The year was 1965 and civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was helping to organize and lead a series of protests in Selma, Alabama. They had support around the country including here in the Motor City.

In Detroit, the Rector of Sacred Heart Seminary, Monsignor Francis X. Canfield, led 400 students several miles to the Central Methodist Church where they were joined by an additional 9000 protesters. From there, the almost 10,000 protesters marched to the Federal building and met with federal judge Lawrence Gubow.

The photo supplied above is courtesy of the Detroit Historical Society. It shows Governor George Romney and Mayor Jerome Cavanagh in the thick of the march at Fort Street and Woodward in front of the National Bank of Detroit, now known as the "Qube."

The "Selma to Montgomery" marches led to the 1965 Voting Rights Act that would eventually prohibit racial discrimination in voting. They didn't come easy.

Activists had planned three protest marches to walk the 54-mile highway from Selma to Montgomery. Along the route, they encountered armed police officers who blocked the road and beat the protesters in an attempt to stop the march.
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