On March 25, 1965, Viola Liuzzo, a middle-class white housewife from Detroit, Michigan, was shot and killed in Lowndesboro, Alabama.
After watching television footage of “Bloody Sunday,” Liuzzo drove to Selma, Alabama, to join Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s efforts to organize another march. Hours after the successful Selma-to-Montgomery march ended, Liuzzo and Leroy Moton, a 19-year-old local black activist, were driving back to Montgomery to pick up demonstrators waiting to return to Selma.
Four Klansmen chased down Liuzzo’s car and opened fire, killing her in the process. Moton survived the attack by pretending to be dead.
One of the men was an FBI informant who had participated in the 1961 beatings of Freedom Riders in Birmingham, Alabama. He testified against the three other Klansmen who were with him on the night of Liuzzo’s murder. They were acquitted by an all-white jury at Lowndes County, but were later convicted of federal civil rights violations.
Hosted by D’Army Bailey, Moments in Civil Rights History is a collaboration with the Equal Justice Initiative.
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