2015 VNPA Contest: News Picture Story

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HM NEWS PICTURE STORY: Jahi Chikwendiu, Washington Post—In 1965, nonviolent demonstrators endured billy clubs, cattle prods and clouds of tear gas as they protested for their right to vote. SelmaÕs ÒBloody Sunday,Ó a day of shocking violence and stirring courage, spurred passage of the Voting Rights Act, one of the most important achievements of the civil rights era. Fifty years after Bloody Sunday, the brutal, institutionalized racism that outraged much of the country is gone from Selma, but a canyon still exists between races. The city has been divided recently over whether to repair a monument honoring Nathan Bedford Forrest, the Confederate general who later became the first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. It’s schools have been effectively segregated since the early 1990s. Much of the outright, institutionalized racism has been replaced with murkier problems that cannot be repaired by a brave stand on a bridge or a single sweeping piece of legislation. Just 60 miles to the south, African-American officials in Shelby County, Alabama, are still fighting for voter rights.

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