Example Flyers From the Selma Voting Rights Campaign

As in any mass movement, leaflets and flyers played an important communications role in the Selma Voting Rights Campaign. Some of the general-information leaflets were mass-printed and handed out by activists on the streets and door-to-door over time. Flyers regarding current events were usually run off on a mimeograph machine and distributed by children running through the Black neighborhoods.

[From the collection of Bruce Hartford]

As a security precaution to prevent KKK snipers and bomb attacks, the dates and locations of appearances by Movement notables such as Dr. King, Malcom X, John Lewis, and Jim Forman were not announced in advance. A few hours before the event, children ran through the Black neighborhoods distributing hastily mimeographed flyers like this one.

[From the collection of Bruce Hartford] [From the collection of Bruce Hartford]

As with freedom movements in other Southern cities, mass meetings were the heart and soul of the Selma Movement. This flyer was distributed in response to the murder of Jimmy Lee Jackson in Marion (Perry County) or Rev. Reeb in Selma.

[From the collection of Bruce Hartford]
[From the collection of Bruce Hartford] This flyer was distributed by the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA) to encourage students to join the Selma to Montgomery march when it arrived in Montgomery.
Most Movement campaigns included boycotts of downtown white merchants because of their support for segregation and racist hiring practices. In Selma, the stores in the Black shopping district were owned by whites who refused to hire Blacks for any job other than janitor. [From the collection of Bruce Hartford]
[From the collection of Bruce Hartford]

Under Alabama law in the 1960s, it was a crime to boycott a store or business. So anyone caught handing out this leaflet was immediately arrested.

Prior to passage of the Voting Rights Act, in most rural counties of the deep south, the courthouse was only open for voter registration two days per month. A "Freedom Day" was a Movement mobilization of Blacks to defy centuries of oppression by going to the courthouse on registration day as a group. If you participated in a Freedom Day, you risked being arrested, beaten, fired, evicted from your home, and possibly murdered.

On this flyer: SCLC stands for Southern Christian Leadership Conference, DCVL is Dallas County Voters League (the Selma Movement coalition), and SNCC is the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

[From the collection of Bruce Hartford]

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