Dallas County Voters League

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The Dallas County Voters League (DCVL) was a local organization in Dallas County, Alabama, which contains the city of Selma, that sought to register black voters during the late 1950s and early 1960s.[1] Some of the initial leaders of the organization included Amelia Boynton, her husband Sam, and her son Bruce; Rev. L.L. Anderson; J.L. Chestnut; and Marie Foster. In 1965 the organization worked in collaboration with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) to organize the Selma to Montgomery marches.

The organization was originally founded in the 1920s by Charles J. Adams, a postal service employee and civil rights organizer.[2]

The group began its campaign to register black voters in 1963. They were joined that year by organizers from the SNCC. Even when the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed, legally ending the practice of segregation, they still found difficulty in getting any black voters registered. In late 1964 they received the help of the SCLC, led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

After SCLC and Dr. King launched the 1965 Selma Voting Rights Campaign on January 2, 1965, schoolteacher Frederick Reese, the president of the DCVL, convinced his fellow teachers to join an attempt to register to vote in mass. They made three attempts on January 22 to climb the steps of the county courthouse and were beaten back each time.[3] Since previous attempts to register had been made largely by blue-collar workers and students, this marked the first attempt in Dallas County by local educated blacks to register in large numbers.

The first march from Selma to Montgomery was attempted on March 7, 1965. It was initiated by SCLC's Director of Direct Action James Bevel, and organized by Bevel, Amelia Boynton, and others. When the marchers crossed the bridge they were attacked by deputies of the county sheriff and Alabama State Troopers, and Amelia Boynton was beaten and left unconscious in the street. The picture of her unconscious figure was widely publicized and helped fuel outrage at the treatment of the marchers.

Other members of the DCVL were Annie Lee Cooper, James E. Gildersleeve, and Ulysses S. Blackmon, Sr.

See also


  1. Vaughn, Wally G.; Davis, Mattie Campbell, eds. (2006). The Selma Campaign, 1963-1965: The Decisive Battle of the Civil Rights Movement. The Majority Press. p. 220. ISBN 9780912469447.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Thornton, J. Mills (2002). Dividing Lines: Municipal Politics and the Struggle for Civil Rights in Montgomery, Birmingham, and Selma. University of Alabama Press. p. 416. ISBN 9780817311704.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "1965-Teachers March" Civil Rights Movement Veterans History and Timeline