Ala. prepares for 50th anniversary of voting march

Vice President Joe Biden and other lawmakers leads a group across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., Sunday, March 3, 2013. They were commemorating the 48th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, when police officers beat marchers when they crossed the bridge on a march from Selma to Montgomery. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) – The 50th anniversary of the Selma-to-Montgomery voting rights march is a year away, and both cities are making plans to draw big crowds next year.

Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange, County Commission Chairman Elton Dean and Alabama State University President Gwendolyn Boyd announced Tuesday that Montgomery is planning two big weekends of events that they expect to draw thousands.

In Selma, a founder of the annual Bridge Crossing Jubilee, state Sen. Hank Sanders, says next year’s celebration will be the biggest ever, with more than 50 events. Both cities are already trying to get the president to attend.

The voting rights march began on March 7, 1965, with 600 protesters being beaten by law enforcement officers on Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge. The march ended peacefully in Montgomery on March 25, 1965.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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