Edmund Pettus Bridge, Alabama

7 March

Today in 1965 was Alabama’s Bloody Sunday. Marchers for black voting rights were attacked at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma by state troopers with tear gas, clubs, whips and rubber tubing wrapped in barbed wire. When the footage captured by TV cameras was broadcast that night, millions of people across America were appalled by the racism and violence. The Voting Rights Act, securing the right of racial minorities to vote, was passed that August.

‘They came toward us, beating us with nightsticks, trampling us with horses, and releasing their tear gas. I was hit in the head by a state trooper with a nightstick. My legs went from under me. I don’t know how I made it back across the bridge but apparently a group just literally took me back.’ John Lewis

Thomas Aquinas died today in 1274. After years under the suspicion of heresy, he was now rehabilitated, and called in by the Pope as a theological adviser to the Council of Lyons. Unfortunately, he never made it, being killed in a low speed donkey crash.

This is the feast of Perpetua and Felicitas, two young women who were sentenced to be killed by wild animals in the arena of Carthage in the year 203. Both of them were very new mothers, and Felicitas was Perpetua’s slave. The account of their martyrdom, partly written by Perpetua, is one of the most inspiring testimonies of the early Christian martyrs. More confident in her duty than her killer was in his, Perpetua had to guide the soldier’s trembling sword to her throat. The typeface Perpetua, designed by Eric Gill, is named after her.

Image: Brent Moore

Time-travel news is written by Steve Tomkins and Simon Jenkins

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