Interview with Rev. Frederick Reese
QUESTION 1
INTERVIEWER:

REV. REESE - LET ME START OFF BY ASKING WHY WAS SELMA CHOSEN AS THE SITE FOR VOTING RIGHTS CAMPAIGNS, FIRST BOTH IN 1963 AND THEN LATER IN 1965.

Rev. Frederick Reese:

Selma was chosen because of its uh commitment on the part of local people here who were displeased with uh, the number of persons in this community who had been denied the right to vote. Out of some uh, one thousand uh, one hundred fifteen uh, fifteen thousand rather, people in the county who were eligible to become registered, only about uh, 300 were really uh registered and were on the rolls. And that percentage caused a lot of alarm on the part of the people here in the city and county. And then of course a commitment to push for the right to vote. Also we had as a sheriff at that time, Sheriff Jim Clark who was the symbol of resistance in the South and he was a prime uh, target to agitate in order to get uh, the type of opportunities to have the public and the whole country aware that what people in the south, particularly in Selma Dallas County who had been denied the right to vote.