Alabama man recalls his march on Bloody Sunday

Updated: Feb. 16, 2021 at 11:10 PM CST
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RUSSELLVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - More than 50 years ago, a man right here in the Tennessee Valley walked shoulder to shoulder with Martin Luther King and John Lewis on the Edmund Pettus Bridge during a dark day in America’s history.

The day was Bloody Sunday.

It’s a day students in America learn about in their history class. It happened back in 1965.

It’s also a day Reverend Charles A. Dale will never forget because he witnessed it first hand.

“My kids can look down and say, ‘My daddy was a part of that. He helped make things better, even though that he is not here to see, I know that he was apart of it because he put his life on the line’,” said Dale.

He, along with hundreds of others, put their lives on the line, fighting for equal rights.

“We were getting to the foot of the bridge, looking at the top of the bridge and when we got up to the top of the bridge we saw sheriff deputies, state troopers, and all law enforcements and Dr. King turned around and looked at us and told us ‘now we’re going to have an encounter, but no matter what they try to do to you don’t try to retaliate don’t try to fight back,” said Dale.

He said he also gave strong warnings to the crowd.

“You’re going to be called the n word, you’re going to be spit on. You’re going to be done things to,” said Dale.

A march of hundreds, met with violence and tear gas.

“They were beating women just like they were beating men with the billy clubs, which was a terrible day which was some beaten severely,” said Dale.

This brutal day in history is one he and thousands of others will forever be engraved in Dale’s memory.

He said almost 60 years later, the fight continues in light of the recent social unrest that has taken the national spotlight in recent months like the murder George Floyd and the recent Capitol attack.

“You have to stand up, speak up, and not just talk the talk but walk the walk also,” said Dale.

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