On 30 January 1972, a civil rights demonstration through the streets of Londonderry in north-west Northern Ireland ended with the shooting dead of thirteen civilians by the British Army.
An official government inquiry began two weeks later but was widely considered a whitewash, leading to a fresh public inquiry in 1998 that took 12 years to report and absolved the victims of blame.
Explore the history of Bloody Sunday with over 40 years of BBC archive clips.
Photo: Demonstrators on a civil rights march through the streets of Londonderry before the shootings on Bloody Sunday
Selma Voting Rights Campaign (Jan Mar) Photos See The Selma Injunction for background and previous events. E also Selma the March to Montgomery for a. Bloody Sunday Articles 1972
For many Americans who have never before marched, never before protested, Bloody Sunday is the tipping point that moves them into action. Not Bloody Sunday alone, of course, but the cumulative effect of all that has gone before. Students, clergy, housewives, and men and women from all walks of life, both Black and white, determine to take a stand. Some hear of and respond to King's call, others act spontaneously. Some hit the road for Selma, some protest locally, some demand immediate action from their U.S. senators and representatives.
VIETNAM: Across the international date line, Sunday afternoon March 7 in Alabama is Monday morning, March 8, in East Asia. Halfway around the world from Bloody Sunday in Selma, U.S. Marines in full combat gear are wading ashore on Da Nang beach. They are the first of what will eventually rise to more than 500,000 American combat troops on the ground fighting to "defend democracy" in Vietnam. Over the course of the next 10 years, more than 3.4 million members of the U.S. armed forces serve in this undeclared war.
The Sunday night movie on ABC is the network premier of , a major TV event with an estimated audience of 48 million. Correspondent Frank Reynolds interrupts the program with news from Selma followed by 15 minutes of Bloody Sunday film. Some viewers are at first confused, assuming the images are of Nazi atrocities. CBS and NBC also provide dramatic coverage — as do the Monday morning newspapers.
Hosea Williams of SCLC and Ivanhoe Donaldson of SNCC are placed in charge of march preparations and logistics. The most contentious issue is choosing the 300 who will be permitted to march the two days across Lowndes County. Almost everyone wants to be among the select number allowed to go "all the way" for the march's entire 54-mile distance. Many of the visiting dignitaries and organizational leaders push themselves forward to urge the symbolic importance of their inclusion. The final decision is delegated to Ivanhoe Donaldson and Frank Soracco of SNCC. They reserve 250 of the prized slots for Alabama Blacks who had lined up at courthouses to register, been arrested, or faced troopers, clubs, gas, and horses on Bloody Sunday and the hard days that went before. Most are from Selma and Dallas County. The rest from Perry, Wilcox, and Marengo. No one from Lowndes, however, dares risk it. The remaining 50 spots are apportioned among the outside supporters to include representatives of every faith, organization, and institution as well as unique individuals such as old Nannie Washburn, her blind son, and one-legged Jim Letherer who will make the entire march on crutches.
Bloody Sunday started when the Catholics started a march for civil rights; better housing and comparative costs for the housing as Protestants had better housing for the same rent as the Catholics did even when they had the worst housing.
Bloody Sunday was a big impact of Nationalism, what started out as a peaceful march of Petersburg workers marching to the Winter Palace led by Father Gapon turned out to be a nightmare....
On that day, known ever since as Bloody Sunday, British paratroopers opened fire on unarmed Irish Catholic demonstrators in Derry, killing thirteen and wounding another fourteen....
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Prime Minister David Cameron called the killings "unjustified and unjustifiable". The families of the victims of Bloody Sunday felt that the inquiry's findings vindicated those who were killed, raising the question of prosecutions and compensation.
On Sunday the 3rd, King leaves for speaking engagements, fund-raising events, and meetings to organize national support. Diane Nash Bevel coordinates SCLC and SNCC staff, now operating in pairs, who fan out through Selma's Black neighborhoods, canvassing door-to-door to talk about voter registration. Though fear is still pervasive, a few courageous souls step forward. On Thursday, January 7, evening meetings and workshops with prospective registrants are held in each of Selma's five electoral wards. Sheriff's deputies barge into some of the meetings to "observe." Bevel electrifies the 50 participants at the Ward IV meeting in Brown Chapel by ordering them out of the building. They leave. The next day, some 200 students attend a youth rally. On Tuesday the 12th, ward meetings of up to 100 begin electing block captains.
Bloody Sunday is named after the events that occurred on Sunday 30
January 1972 when British soldiers shot dead 13 men and injured 14
SELMA: Sunday, March 7, dawns cold and raw. Tension grips the city. The air is pregnant with potential violence. Carloads of white thugs prowl the streets looking for trouble. Just over the Edmund Pettus bridge on the road to Montgomery, a swarm of state troopers, sheriff's deputies and mounted possemen, wait impatiently. They are itching for action. John Carter Lewis, a Black dishwasher, is stopped on his way home from work. He's guilty of being Black in the wrong place. Two troopers attack him, striking him with their clubs, breaking his arm and bloodying his head.
Behind the possemen come the white thugs, beating down anyone who manages to stumble out of the gas cloud. They assault the reporters and break their cameras. One of the "reporters" is actually an FBI agent, and the three men who attack him are later arrested for assault on a federal agent. They are the only whites ever arrested for violence on "Bloody Sunday." They are never brought to trial.