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.
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.
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.
|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.|
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
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.