|The Civil Rights Movement in Selma, the seat of Dallas County, Alabama, has deep roots. From 1865 to 1875 the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution and the process of Reconstruction across Alabama brought an uncertain but welcome degree of freedom to the lives of African Americans in Selma. Uncertainty came from two directions: (1) the actual commitment of the federal government to enforce its own laws in a region overtly hostile to even the presence of the federal government, and, (2) the real threat of intimidation and violence. From the beginning, Reconstruction was violent in Selma and Dallas County. As early as August 1865, Maj. J.B. Houston, provost marshal for the Freedmen's Bureau based in Selma, was reporting a dozen cases of white-on-black violence in his jurisdiction and admitted that these cases were but a small part of those that have actually been perpetrated [sic]. The Freedmen's Bureau combined with various white missionary groups to give limited support and encouragement to the newly emancipated African American citizens of Selma. Most of the gains made came from African Americans themselves as they created churches, schools, and cemeteries as key community-centered institutions, the first steps to asserting their place not only within the society but also within the actual physical landscape of the town.