The Selma to Montgomery marches, also known as "Bloody Sunday" and the two marches that followed, were marches and protests held in 1965 that marked a political and emotional peak of the 1960s American Civil Rights Movement and directly brought about the 1965 Voting Rights Act. All three marches were attempts to walk for 54-miles along the highway from Selma to the Alabama state capitol of Montgomery. The first march, initiated and directed by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference's Director of Direct Action, James Bevel, was strategized as a counter-measure to relieve the trauma and escalating anger caused by the killing of Voting Rights activist Jimmie Lee Jackson during a nighttime march in Marion, Alabama.
The voting rights movement in Selma was launched by local African-Americans who formed the Dallas County Voters League (DCVL). In 1963, the DCVL and organizers from the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) began voter-registration work. When white resistance to black voter registration proved intractable, the DCVL requested the assistance of Martin Luther King, Jr. and SCLC, who finally brought many prominent civil rights and civic leaders to support the Selma Voting Rights Movement in January, 1965.