Affectionately called “The Jubilee”, it was founded in Selma, Alabama as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. Our commitment is to the commemoration and preservation of the spirit of the struggle for the right to vote in this country and the world. Our goal is to inspire people of all ages and ethnic backgrounds to respect and appreciate the power of their vote.
This annual event in Selma, Alabama, commemorates "Bloody Sunday," which occurred March 7, 1965, when a group of about 525 African American demonstrators gathered at Browns Chapel to demand the right to vote. They walked six blocks to Broad Street, then across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, where they were met by more than 50 state troopers and a few dozen postmen on horseback. When the demonstrators refused to turn back, they were brutally beaten. At least 17 were hospitalized, and 40 others received treatment for injuries and the effects of tear gas. The attack, which was broadcast on national television, caught the attention of millions of Americans and became a symbol of the brutal racism of the South. Two weeks later, the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. and 3,200 civil rights protesters marched the 49 miles from Selma to the state capital, Montgomery—an event that prompted Congress to pass the Voting Rights Act.
Every year the Bridge Crossing Jubilee, Inc., hosts the commemoration of this historic event and the struggle for the right to vote, by gathering at the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge in a festival of music, art, and historical remembrance.
Several years ago this yearly event was dubbed “The Annual Pilgrimage to Selma”. Tens of thousands of freedom-loving people flock to Selma the first weekend of every March to hear personal stories from surviving freedom fighters from the movement and walk hand in hand with history makers who were willing to lay down their lives for the right to have a voice in the country they helped to build. For over a decade the heroes of the movement and a host of other civic, political, and national leaders have made the annual pilgrimage to Selma, AL to join us in this event.
For over a decade The Bridge Crossing Jubilee, Inc. has attracted noted individuals from all walks of life.
Past attendees have included:
Rosa Parks; Mrs. Coretta Scott King; President Barack Obama; Congressman John Lewis; Former President Bill Clinton; Former President George W. Bush; Sean Penn; Rev. Jesse Jackson; Bernard Lafayette, Jr.; Andrew Young; Ethel and Max Kennedy; Ron Daniels; Geronimo Ji Jagga Pratt; Johnny Cochran; Judge Joe Brown; Judge Greg Mathis; Chris Tucker; Drew Barrymore; Gloria Steinem; Stephen King; Senator Bill Fritz; Jack Kemp; Roy Jones; Richard Gephardt; Tony Bennet; Outkast; Tyrese Gibson; Master P; Susan Taylor; Terrence Howard; Al Sharpton; Ethel and Max Kennedy; Gloria Steinem; Roy Jones; Sonia Sanchez; Xernona Clayton; Shirley Franklin; Winnie Madikizela-Mandela; Louis Gossett, Jr.; Marian Wright Edelman; Danny Glover; Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee; Congresswoman Maxine Waters; Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton; Congressional Representatives
WHY WE RETURN
Every year on the first weekend in March, the Bridge Crossing Jubilee commemorates both the bloody confrontation at the Pettus Bridge and the march from Selma to Montgomery that followed. Events include a parade, a Miss Jubilee Pageant, a mock trial, and a commemorative march to the bridge. Every five years, celebrants continue all the way to Montgomery.