On This Day – “Alabama Police Use Gas and Clubs to Rout Negroes”

On March 7, 1965, a march by civil rights demonstrators was broken up in Selma, Ala., by state troopers and a sheriff’s posse.

Alabama state troopers and volunteer officers of the Dallas County sheriff’s office tore through a column of Negro demonstrators with tear gas, nightsticks and whips to enforce Gov. George C. Wallace’s order against a protest march from Selma to Montgomery.

At least 17 Negroes were hospitalized with injuries and about 40 more were given emergency treatment for minor injuries and tear gas effects.

The Negroes reportedly fought back with bricks and bottles at one point as they were pushed back into the Negro community, far away from most of a squad of reporters and photographers who had been restrained by the officers.

[In Washington the Justice Department announced that agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Selma had been directed to make a full and prompt investigation and to gather evidence whether “unnecessary force was used by law officers and others” in halting the march.]

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