On February 18, 1965, a young man named Jimmie Lee Jackson was shot and killed by a member of the Alabama State Police during a non-violent civil rights demonstration in Selma, Alabama.
Seventeen days later, 525 civil rights activists marched from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, in protest of that killing. They were attacked by state and local police armed with billy clubs, whips, and tear gas. (You can read the New York Times' entire horrifying accounthere.) That day—March 7, 1965—would come to be known as “Bloody Sunday.”
Everyone deserves not just to survive, but to live. This is the most important legacy of Solomon Northup. I dedicate this award to all the people who have endured slavery, and the 21 million people who still suffer slavery today.