Rev. Jim Macdonell: And it took about an hour to get everybody lined up and start the march out of town because the EdmundPettusBridge is about a half mile out of town. And, of course, we walked across the bridge and over the top of the bridge and down the other side. As we came down the highway, we looked across the highway, and there as far as we could see were flashing lights and police cars and helmeted troopers carrying shotguns blocking the way. It was very ominus. Dr. King got on a bullhorn, which he borrowed from Major Lingo of the Alabama police, and he said, “Folks, we’re going to have to stop. And we have been assured that we can kneel for a moment of prayer, which will be led by the right Reverend John Wesley Lord, the Methodist bishop of WashingtonD.C. And so we all, 2000 people going back up over the bridge, all knelt down on the pavement. I was up only about 10 feet from the front. And as I was kneeling there, all of a sudden I heard, “Oh Lord our God…” And it was not John Welsley Lord, it was my Presbyterian friend, the New York Abner Presbyterian Church. And he prayed. That was dear Dr. Docherty. He was a great man. He prayed for the people of Selma. He prayed for the governor of Alabama. He prayed for the troopers. He prayed for peace and reconciliation. It was very moving. We were very emotional. But they were the right, the right words were said.
Did You Know?
On March 17, 1965, after five days of testimony, Judge Johnson granted an order authorizing the march from Selma to Montgomery. On March 21, Martin Luther King led a diverse group of 8,000 demonstrators out of Selma under the protection of 2,000 National Guard troops and federal marshals.