[Congressional Record Volume 151, Number 26 (Tuesday, March 8, 2005)]
[Page H1005]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                           THE DREAM LIVES ON

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the 
gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Kind) is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. KIND. Mr. Speaker, 40 years ago yesterday on March 7, 1965, 
events in Selma, Alabama, became a seminal moment for the advancement 
of civil rights in our country. Last weekend, I had the privilege to 
join one of my heroes, the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Lewis), who was 
also one of the leaders of the nonviolent civil rights movement, to 
retrace his steps across the Edmund Pettus Bridge where America's long 
march to freedom met a roadblock of violent resistance. The day became 
known as Bloody Sunday.
  By 1965, the cause of equality and human dignity had already seen 
much progress and setbacks: the Supreme Court decision of Brown v. 
Board of Education, Rosa Parks's defiance on a bus in Montgomery, the 
breaking of a color barrier at Ole Miss, the historic March on 
Washington, the assassinations of Medgar Evers and President Kennedy, 
the bombing deaths of four little girls at the 16th Street Baptist 
Church in Birmingham, Alabama, the Mississippi freedom summer, the 
passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
  But on this Bloody Sunday, about 600 people, young and old, put their 
lives on the line and met the unbridled force of racism for the most 
basic American right, the right to vote and be full participants in our 
democracy. The Alabama State Patrol was waiting for them at the other 
side of the Pettus Bridge and attacked them with clubs, tear gas, and 
  The gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Lewis) was beaten so badly he 
believed he was going to die. The images were captured on TV. When the 
movie ``Judgment at Nuremberg'' was interrupted with the news, many 
people watching the movie first thought that it was a continuation of 
the movie depicting brutal Nazi oppression, until they realized that 
this was happening in America, right now. People's shock moved the 
political world.
  One week after Bloody Sunday, President Johnson spoke to the Nation. 
In inspiring words, he said: ``At times, history and fate meet in a 
single time and a single place to shape a turning point in man's 
unending search for freedom. So it was at Lexington and Concord. So it 
was a century ago at Appomattox. So it was last week in Selma. Their 
cause must be our cause.''
  Two weeks after Bloody Sunday, Dr. Martin Luther King and the 
gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Lewis) led 4,000 people across the Pettus 
Bridge on their 54-mile march to Montgomery. Six months later, 
President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act, proclaiming that the 
right to vote is the most powerful instrument ever devised for breaking 
down injustice and destroying the terrible walls which imprison all 
people merely because they are different from each other.
  Soon the Voting Rights Act will be up again before Congress for 
reauthorization. We should do it sooner rather than later. We should 
make it permanent, rather than for short periods, so we do not have to 
revisit the issue and debate its provisions. Surely there is enough 
common interest and bipartisan support to accomplish this.
  Their cause 40 years ago this week still must be our cause to 
overcome today. For as long as the power of America's diversity is 
diminished by acts of discrimination and violence against people just 
because they are black, Hispanic, Asian, Jewish, Muslim or gay, we 
still must overcome.
  As long as the gap between rich and poor continues to spread in our 
Nation, with some and not all having access to health care, we still 
must overcome.
  As long as children of color are more likely to live in poverty, die 
sooner, and less likely to graduate high school and go on to college, 
we still must overcome.
  As President Bush stated during his recent trip to Europe: ``We 
cannot carry the message of freedom and the baggage of bigotry at the 
same time. All our nations must work to integrate minorities into the 
mainstream of society, and to teach the value of tolerance to each new 
  President Clinton pointed out 5 years ago at the Pettus Bridge that 
these challenges already have existing bridges waiting to be crossed. 
He said: ``These bridges stand on the strong foundations of our 
Constitution. They were built by our forebears through silent tears and 
weary years. They are waiting to take us to higher ground.''
  But there is still much work to be done. In the words of Martin 
Luther King, Jr.: ``Human progress never rolls on the wheels of 
inevitability. It comes through the tireless efforts of people willing 
to be co-workers with God.''
  We remember the event of 40 years ago this week not only to honor the 
courage, sacrifice and accomplishments by those like the gentleman from 
Georgia (Mr. Lewis) and so many more, but also to rededicate ourselves 
to their unfinished work: the pursuit of justice, love, tolerance and 
human rights, in our country and throughout the world.