In a statement released by the White House, the president said:
"Forty-nine years ago, a determined group of Americans marched into history, facing down grave danger in the name of justice and equality -- walking to protest the continued discrimination and violence against African Americans. On a day that became known as 'Bloody Sunday', these brave men and women met billy-clubs and tear gas with courage and resolution. Their actions helped set an example for a generation to stand up for the fundamental freedoms due to all people. We recognize those who marched that day -- and the millions more who have done their part throughout our nation’s history to bend the arc of the moral universe toward justice."
The first Civil Rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, on March 7, 1965 turned "bloody" when 600 marchers were attacked by state and local police.