H.Res. 562: Directing the Office of the Historian to compile oral histories from Members of the House of Representatives involved in the historic and annual Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, marches

H.Res. 562

Directing the Office of the Historian to compile oral histories from Members of the House of Representatives involved in the historic and annual Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, marches

Sponsor
Rep. Terri Sewell

Date
March 1, 2012 (112th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Thursday, March 1, 2012, the House is scheduled to consider H.Res. 562 Subject to a unanimous consent agreement. H.Res 562 was introduced by Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL) on February 27, 2012, and was referred to the Committee on House Administration.

Bill Summary

H.Res. 562 would direct the Office of the Historian to compile oral histories from current and former Members of the House of Representatives involved in the historic and annual Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, marches, as well as the civil rights movement in general, for the purposes of expanding or augmenting the historic record and for public dissemination and education.

Background

According to the resolution’s findings, in 1965, civil rights advocates participated in three marches from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, marking a watershed moment of the civil rights movement. The first march took place on March 7, 1965, during which 600 civil rights activists, led by now-Representative John Lewis and Reverend Hosea Williams, began a march to protest unfair voter registration practices and the shooting death of Jimmie Lee Jackson during a voter registration drive. The marchers progressed only six blocks from the Brown Chapel A.M.E. Church to the Edmund Pettus Bridge, where many were tear-gassed and beaten.

 

Two days later, on March 9, 1965, Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., led a symbolic march of 2,000 people to the Edmund Pettus Bridge, all kneeling there to pray. On March 21, 1965, with protection from the Alabama National Guard, more than 3,000 people set out from Selma again led by Rev. King, marching an average of 12 miles a day along Route 80 and sleeping in farm fields. That group grew to 25,000 participants by the time it reached Montgomery on March 25, 1965, where Rev. King delivered one of his most venerated speeches. As a result of this historic three-week period, Congress passed the Voting Rights Act of 1965, five months after the third march, as recognition of the right of all United States citizens to fully participate in the electoral process.

 

In 1996, Congress created the 54-mile long Selma-to-Montgomery National Historic Trail along the route of this third march, starting at the Brown Chapel A.M.E. Church in Selma, crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge, and ending at the Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery. Since 1998, Members of Congress have participated in an annual civil rights pilgrimage to the Selma-to-Montgomery National Historic Trail, to visit the historic sites, participate in fellowship, and recognize the achievements of the civil rights movement. The Office of the Historian, first established in 1983, researches, preserves, and interprets the rich institutional history of the House of Representatives in order to share it with Members, staff, and the public, and serves as the institutional memory to inspire greater understanding of the House of Representatives' central role in United States history.  Members of the House of Representatives have included participants in the historic 1965 marches and in the annual pilgrimages thereafter.

 

Cost

A CBO score for H.Res. 562 was not available as of press time.