House votes to honor 1965's Selma marchers with gold medal

AP News
Posted: Feb 11, 2015 5:37 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House has voted unanimously to create a Congressional Gold Medal to honor those who endured police violence as they marched for civil rights 50 years ago in Selma, Alabama.

The gold medal is the nation's highest civilian award. The bill now goes to the Senate.

The House voted 420-0 to honor the mostly black "foot soldiers" who tried to march from Selma to Montgomery to demand voting rights in March 1965. Alabama police attacked several hundred marchers as they crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge near Selma.

The violence shocked many Americans and spurred larger marches and protests for civil rights in Alabama and elsewhere.

The gold medal legislation was sponsored by Democratic House member Terri Sewell and Republican House member Martha Roby, both of Alabama.