Early Sunday morning, March 1, 2020, members of the Nashville Metro Alumnae Chapter (NMAC) of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and their guests, boarded a bus from Nashville bound for Selma, Alabama, to join thousands for the historic march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. The early morning trek, organized by NMAC member Beverly Glaze-Johnson, chairperson of the chapter’s Social Action Committee, was destined for the 55th Jubilee of ‘Bloody Sunday’ and the Selma to Montgomery March. The historical annual commemoration recalled the March 7, 1965 event, when 525 African American demonstrators gathered at Browns Chapel to demand the right to vote. They walked six blocks to Broad Street, then across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. It was here the demonstrators were met by more than 50 state troopers and dozens of others on horseback.
Prior to the arrival of the NMAC Deltas, Cleshette Hudson, NMAC president, showed the movie reenactment of the bridge event during the bus ride. The popular movie Selma, directed by Ava DuVernay, provided a backdrop for the experience
“I thought it was important for us to understand the events which preceded the bridge march, and to also have the context for the 55th annual celebration,” said Hudson.
The crowd was intergenerational and diverse, including babies pushed in strollers and persons in wheelchairs. There were community organizations, Eastern Star chapters, and youth community groups. Greek Chapter presidents representing the Divine Nine were positioned to lead their respective fraternities and sororities across the bridge. The sea of red was a sight to behold!
Georgia Rep. John Lewis, currently battling stage four-pancreatic cancer, was one of the original foot soldiers who survived ‘Bloody Sunday.’ He returned to the bridge for the march, as he does every year, and reminded the participants that “We cannot give up now. We cannot give in. We must keep the faith,” Lewis said. Included in the crowd of several thousand people who participated in the bridge crossing, were Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Mike Bloomberg, with Rep. Terry Sewell, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed and Rev. William Barber.
The crowd moved slowly in a stop-and-go rhythm while different verses of ‘We Shall Overcome’ were echoed from different parts of the crowd. The fatigue felt from more standing than walking, was worth any discomfort. The memories, either experienced or relived through this historic re-enactment, made an impression that all who participated would never forget.
As the bus began the trip back to Nashville, chapter members prepared for the primary vote that would take place on Super Tuesday. The March on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, in commemoration of Bloody Sunday, would continue to ignite the excitement of those who fought for voter rights. It would be a constant reminder of the sacrifices made by many. Although the blood spilled on the Edmund Pettus Bridge has been washed away through decades of struggle, the legacy of courage and tenacity will forever fuel the movement for Delta Sigma Theta. We will never become complacent or stagnant. We are social action!
The Nashville Metro Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority is active throughout the year in voter registration, and in making their voices heard throughout Nashville, Davidson County and surrounding areas. Voter registration, forums to meet political candidates and the ‘Delta Days on the Hill’ to meet and have discussions with national, state and local lawmakers are a few of the ways the chapter engages the community to embrace their voice and exercise their right to vote.
The Nashville Metropolitan Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority is dedicated to executing the objectives of the Grand Chapter through excellence. NMAC is a proud member of the Dynamic Southern Region. Visit our site frequently to stay informed about upcoming events and to connect with us as we make a positive impact on our community.