A record 95 members of Congress are expected to visit Alabama this weekend as part of an annual civil rights pilgrimage hosted by The Faith and Politics Institute, according to USA Today
The 2015 Congressional Pilgrimage will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1965 civil rights marches that led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act. The Congressional delegation will tour historic sites in Birmingham, Montgomery and Selma.
President Barack Obama is expected to join the group Sunday to reflect upon "Bloody Sunday," an historic event in which state police attacked marchers attempting to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge into the state capital. The scene was depicted in the film "Selma," which was nominated for Best Picture by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross, D-N.J., appears to be the only congressman from the Philadelphia and South Jersey region heading to the event. No other local representative or senator has publicly announced his intention to participate. New Jersey Assemblyman Whip Wilson, D-Camden, also is attending.
"In defiance of segregation and repression, thousands of people walked the 54-mile highway from Selma to the Alabama state capital of Montgomery," Norcross said in a statement. "As we walk in their steps 50 years later, we can celebrate how far we’ve come as a society and also recognize how far we still must go."
Wilson, who watched "Bloody Sunday" unfold in his youth, applauded the sacrifices made by the marchers.
"They had more courage than I ever could, and did what I could not have," Wilson said in a statement. "They paved the way for the changes we see today, and I am standing on their shoulders.”
Full disclosure: Rep. Donald Norcross is the uncle of PhillyVoice.com Managing Director Lexie Norcross.