Alabama's 1901 Constitution effectively removed black males from voting rolls, making null and void the 1867 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Alabama blacks struggled for enfranchisement in a variety of ways in the 1950s and 1960s:
NAACP legal strategy via jury selection process1957 Civil Rights Act.
Mass movement strategy in conjunction with SNCC (1963); SCLC's voter education project placed organizers in many of Alabama's Black Belt counties (1965).
Innovative organizations emerged to help blacks master the "literacy test." One of them was the Citizens' Club, founded by Rufus C. Lewis, known as the Father of Central Alabama Voting Rights Movement.
Hundreds of African Americans lined up at registrar offices attempting to register to vote.
Hundreds of voting rights activists beaten and jailed by local police.
Mass meetings and rallies in black churches met with police violence, notably the killing of Jimmy Lee Jackson in Marion on February 18, 1965, as he attempted to protect his mother from policemen's billy clubs.
The 1965 Selma-To-Montgomery Voting Rights March:
1st Attempt, March 7, "Bloody Sunday": Marchers trekked from Browns Chapel AMEZ to Edmund Pettus Bridge, but were viciously attacked by local police and state troopers.
2nd Attempt, March 9: Marchers trekked to Pettus Bridge, knelt, prayed, and then returned to Browns Chapel, but Rev. James Reeb dies when beaten by white vigilantes.
3rd Attempt, March 21: Marchers, with the protection of a federal court order and a Federalized National Guard, proceeded to the state Capitol to petition for voting rights.
March 24: At "Stars for Freedom" rally near Montgomery, at City of Saint Jude, world-renowned entertainers performed inspirational show then joined the march the next day.
March 25: Marchers arrived at state Capitol, where Martin Luther King Jr. gave a speech; Viola Luizzo, a marcher, was killed by the Ku Klux Klan that night in Lowndes County.
Aftermath of March:
August 6, 1965: President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
August 20, 1965: Rev. Jonathan Daniels, a white Episcopal priest from out-of-state, was killed by a parttime Deputy Sheriff in Lowndes County.
November 1966: Lucius Amerson was elected sheriff of Macon County, Alabama, the first African American elected to this post since Reconstruction.
In 1970 two black men were elected to the legislaturethe first since Reconstruction.
To this day, movements for democracy the world over claim Alabama's voting rights struggle as an inspiration and sing the movement's anthem, "We Shall Overcome."