Saturday, March 7, 2009

Civil Rights Era: March 7, 1965

March 7, 1965: As a high school student in Elgin, Illinois, I was oblivious to the fact that this day would come to be known as "Bloody Sunday." The March 7, 2009, Wall Street Journal reports about this day in 1965:
(H)undreds of peaceful protesters left Selma [Alabama], heading for Montgomery. As they walked across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, high above the Alabama River, they ran into state troopers and local police wielding tear gas and billy clubs.
Those of you, though, who have followed this blog that started with the publication of my novel MRS. LIEUTENANT know that one of the themes of the novel is how four women of different races and religions had to learn to get together as new officer's wives in the spring of 1970 during the Vietnam War. And that 1970 was only six years after the passage of the Civil Rights Act. Thus I thought it appropriate to mention this anniversary of the 1965 date in my blog.

The article itself -- "Touring the Civil Rights Trail" by Candace Jackson -- describes various sites that are now tourist attractions. According to the article, hanging at the entrance to the sanctuary of the black church in Montgomery where Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. once preached is a poster of Barack and Michelle Obama with the words "A New Era."

I believe that the story of four women in 1970 has a lot to say to those of us in 2009 who live in this supposed new era. There are things we take for granted without realizing how few the years have been since those things were not taken for granted.

And here's a children's story that takes place the day after Barack Obama wins the Presidential election and continues the saga of Wendy Johnson, the African-American officer's wife in MRS. LIEUTENANT.

Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of MRS. LIEUTENANT: A SHARON GOLD NOVEL and the co-author of the Jewish holiday book SEASONS FOR CELEBRATION. She also blogs at PZ the Do-Gooder Scrooge and Operation Support Jews in the Military, and she is the co-host of the BlogTalkRadio show Your Military Life. Her company Miller Mosaic LLC builds call-to-action websites for book authors and small businesses.

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