S.N.C.C. helped organize the Selma to Montgomery marches, and Lewis was there in Selma on "Bloody Sunday." After commenting on David Denby's review of the movie, which ran in a previous edition of The New Yorker, Lyon offers the following observation about the events of "Bloody Sunday":
The events depicted in "Selma" happened because of the incredible courage of Lewis and those who were with him when he stood on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, in a raincoat, confronting the police. Recently, I was with Representative Lewis in his office when he held up an Associated Press photograph of himself being beaten on Bloody Sunday by an Alabama state trooper. The helmeted officer is pulling Lewis toward him as he raises his baton just before crashing it down onto Lewis's head. Lewis ... was then hospitalized with a fractured skull...."
I think that Lyndon Johnson got it right when he described "Bloody Sunday" as a "turning point," and the fact that they made a movie about these events, fifty years later, is a testimony to that.
What I think we need to see is that this "turning point" in history was achieved not by violence, but by nonviolence, by the incredible courage of those who confronted physical and death dealing violence in the way that Lyon so simply and clearly describes in his New Yorker letter.
It is when we have the courage to die for our cause that we turn history in a new direction.
Killing for our cause takes no courage at all, and makes no history that we will ever want to celebrate.
(1) - http://www.salon.com/2013/03/07/how_to_fight_voter_suppression/
(2) - http://www.bkreader.com/2015/01/selma-reflections-after-seeing-this-powerful-film/