Alabama Highway Patrol Chief Col. Al Lingo

In 1965, as hundreds of people prepared to march from Selma to Montgomery to demand the Constitutional right of Black citizens to vote, Alabama Gov. George Wallace ordered Alabama Highway Patrol Chief Col. Al Lingo to “use whatever measures are necessary to prevent a march.” So he did.

Col. Lingo was reportedly a member of the Ku Klux Klan. He wore a lapel button with one word in black letters on a white background:


Col. Lingo’s order for Alabama State Troopers to attack marchers on the Edmund Pettus bridge was broadcast nationwide on TV. The horror of white law enforcement officers viciously attacking peaceful Black citizens helped gain support for the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which passed Congress not long after.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *