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Joe Biden in Selma, Ala to commemorate 'Bloody Sunday' civil rights marches

The 50-mile march in 1965 prompted Congress to pass the Voting Rights Act.

Selma alabama marchEnlarge
Civil rights demonstrators, led by Dr Martin Luther King (not pictured), arrive in Montgomery from Selma on March 26, 1965 in Alabama, on the third leg of the Selma to Montgomery marches. The Selma-to-Montgomery March for voting rights ended three weeks and represented the political and emotional peak of the modern civil rights movement. The first march took place on March 07, 1965 ("Bloody Sunday") when 600 civil rights marchers were attacked by state and local police. (AFP/Getty Images/AFP/Getty Images)

Vice President Joe Biden was in Selma, Ala. this weekend to commemorate the 1965 clash between police and voting rights marchers known as "Bloody Sunday".

Violent images of the clash, where officers beat protesters with billy clubs and used tear gas against protestors, broadcast on national TV prompted the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, reports Al.com.

Shortly before he led a group of thousands to march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, Biden told the crowd that watching that TV footage helped shape his consciousness, reports AP.

"We saw in stark relief the rank hatred, discrimination and violence that still existed in large parts of the nation," he said.

Biden, who was a college student at the time, apologized for not coming to Selma back in 1965 after he saw the first march.

"I regret - and although it's not a part of what I'm supposed to say - I apologize it took me 48 years to get here," Biden said, according to CNN.

"I should have been here. It's one of the regrets that I have and many in my generation have."

Earlier on Sunday, Biden praised those who made the march from Selma to Montgomery and said although they "broke the back of the forces of evil," the fight for voting rights continues today.

His comments came just days after the Supreme Court heard a challenge to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which requires states with a history of racial discrimination to get approval before making any change to election procedure including restricting early voting or requiring a photo ID.

According to AP, Attorney General Eric Holder told a crowd at the foot of the bridge that the South has made great strides since 1965 but is not yet ready for the most important part of the voting rights act to be dismissed.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/130303/joe-biden-selma-ala-commemorate-bloody-sunday-ci