Interview with Sheriff James Clark
QUESTION 58
INTERVIEWER:

OK, JUST GIVE US A BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF SELMA BACK THEN, LATE FIFTIES, EARLY SIXTIES.

Sheriff James Clark:

Selma was a town of about thirty thousand people at the time. It was at the fall line of the Alabama River, that's where the boats used to come up the Alabama River, and as far up as they could come for twelve months out of the year. Sometimes they could go on up to Montgomery, but most of the time they stopped at Selma. That was where the—it was built there to haul along—docks were built there to haul cotton down the river. The city was founded by United States Vice President King, about 1830s, and was just more or less a lazy town, and everybody seemed to be happy outwardly. And they—nobody ever got in a hurry. There was a lot of big trees there, a lot of old homes, a lot of old buildings and it was fifty miles from Montgomery, which was the cradle of Confederacy. The last battle of the—between the North and South in that area was fought in Selma, and I think that's probably the reason that it was selected, because it was fifty miles from the cradle of Confederacy. Also, it was—the date almost coincided exactly 100 years from the day of the Battle of Selma.