(Image via Times Union.)
By the time she was 15, Lynda Blackmon Lowery had been jailed 9 times for her participation in demonstrations to fight for the rights of African-Americans. Today at age 64, she still bears the scars of a brutal beating at the hands of an Alabama state trooper during a protest march she participated at the age of 14. She recently recounted the experience to NPR,
On Bloody Sunday I was very near, very near the front. I was, like, in the 19th line from the front. When we got to the crest of the bridge, the top of the bridge, and we saw all these men in blue — that was the Alabama State Troopers. We saw the Sheriff Jim Clark and his deputies, and we saw his posse. They were on horseback.
Lynda Blackmon Lowery turned 15 years old while participating in the 1965 civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery.i
Lynda Blackmon Lowery turned 15 years old while participating in the 1965 civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery.
Robin Cooper/Penguin Random House
I really wasn’t afraid that day until we got down there, all the way to the state troopers, and they said we were an illegal assembly and we had to disperse, and I heard this pop pop sound. Later I found out it was teargas. And I remember I couldn’t breath, and I was scared. I was on my knees and somebody grabbed the back of my collar, [my] coat, and started pulling me backwards. And I guess I was resisting because they grabbed the front of my lapel and I bit the hand that was on the front of the lapel. And I heard that horrible n-word. And I felt him hit me twice.
I ended up with seven stitches over my right eye. I still have that scar. And 28 stitches in the back of my head, and I still have a knot in the back of my head from that.
In her book Turning 15 On The Road To Freedom, Lowery talks of fearing for life before joining the larger Selma March. An exhibit highlighting key moments in the Selma march is currently up from now through July 2015 at the New-York Historical Society.