King Missed “Bloody Sunday”
The first attempt at the march ended quickly at the Edmund Pettis Bridge, when about 600 marchers were viciously beaten by state troopers in a scene that horrified television viewers around the world—but King wasn’t there. His young deputy John Lewis was there in his place and was severely beaten. The spectacle was made worse by Sheriff Jim Clark’s decision to issue an order for all white males in Dallas County over the age of twenty-one to report to the courthouse that morning to be deputized.
King Was Criticized for “Turnaround Tuesday”
Two days after Bloody Sunday, the marchers were back at it again. But after a federal district judge issued a restraining order to stop the marchers, King led about 2,500 marchers out to the Edmund Pettus Bridge—but then shocked and angered the marchers, many of whom had traveled from far away, by turning around after a short prayer session, thus obeying the court order. Three white ministers who had come for the march were attacked by four members of the Ku Klux Klan and beaten with clubs, with Unitarian minister James Reeb from Boston dying two days later—after he was refused treatment at Selma’s public hospital and had to be taken to Birmingham’s University Hospital, two hours away.