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March for voting rights remembered

Thousands of people marched for voting rights 50 years ago in Selma, Ala., and a Congressional Gold Medal will mark that journey.

Designs selected for the obverse (left) and reverse (right) sides of the medal.

Designs selected for the obverse (left) and reverse (right) sides of the medal.

The design for Foot Soldiers of the 1965 Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights March medal was reviewed in late June by the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee and the Commission of Fine Arts.

Those who aimed to cross the foot of the Edmund Pettis Bridge on March 7, 1965, were subjected to beatings and the fear of death to protest  for a national voting rights law.

The designs focus on the people who marched, the voting rights they demanded and the justice they sought.

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Catch up on the latest U.S. coins prices with the 2016 U.S. Coin Digest!

Both the CCAC and CFA endorsed obverse design No. 6A, which depicts foot soldiers as they cross the Pettus Bridge on their 54-mile journey to Montgomery.

They both asked that the circle encompassing the swarm of people crossing the bridge be eliminated to give focus to the thousands of people who particpated in the march.

Reverse design No. 5 honors the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by featuring a hand, voting box and the quote “Every American Citizen Must Have An Equal Right to Vote.”

The CFA felt the quote should be attributed to President Lyndon B. Johnson and be a feature of the design, according to CFA secretary Thomas Luebke.

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News.
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