Tags: selma | march | civil rights | vote | 50 | voting act

GOP Leaders Faulted for Skipping 50th Anniversary of Selma March

By    |   Friday, 06 March 2015 09:08 AM

Republican leadership is in the hot seat for skipping this weekend’s 50th anniversary commemoration of "Bloody Sunday" in Selma, Alabama, Politico reports.

The three-day event, honoring the 54-mile highway march from Selma to Montgomery to highlight black Americans' fight for the right to vote, will include some 100 members of Congress, President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush, but House Republican leaders and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will be conspicuously absent.

"It is very disappointing that not a single Republican leader sees the value in participating in this 50th commemoration of the signing of the Voting Rights Act," Congressional Black Caucus Chairman G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina told Politico. "I had hoped that some of the leadership would attend, but apparently none of them will.

"The Republicans always talk about trying to change their brand and be more appealing to minority folks and be in touch with the interests of African-Americans. This is very disappointing."

Last week, The Hill reported that Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise, the House Majority Whip, upset black lawmakers with his decision not to be there.

Congressional Black Caucus Leaders had urged him to attend to "mend fences" for a speech he gave to a group of white supremacists when he was a state lawmaker in 2002.

Scalise said he plans to attend next year.

House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy also won’t be there. In total, 23 House and Senate Republicans are registered to attend, according to Politico, including the event's co-sponsor, Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, the first black Republican elected from the South since the turn of the 20th century.

Alabama Rep. Martha Roby is also going. She is co-sponsoring the event with Scott.

Georgia Rep. John Lewis, who was beaten with a night stick during the 1965 march, told Politico that he would have liked to see more of the Republican leadership’s support.

"President Bush is going to be there, but I think it would have been fitting and appropriate for them to make a trip."

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President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush will take part in this weekend's event, honoring the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery by black Americans fighting for the right to vote, but House and Senate Republican leaders won't be joining them.
selma, march, civil rights, vote, 50, voting act
Friday, 06 March 2015 09:08 AM
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