This morning, Congressman John Lewis sent the following message to the White House email list, reflecting on the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and highlighting the barriers to the vote that are still present today. Tune in at 2 p.m. ET today as President Obama leads a conversation in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act — followed by a discussion featuring Congressman John Lewis and Melissa Harris-Perry. And if you didn't get the email, sign up for email updates here . Every year, I head back to the birthplace of a new America — Selma, Alabama — where a determined struggle for voting rights transformed our democracy 50 years ago. On March 7, 1965, Hosea Williams and I led a band of silent witnesses, 600 nonviolent crusaders, intending to march 50 miles to Montgomery — Alabama's capital — to demonstrate the need for voting rights in America. At the foot of the bridge, we were met by Alabama state troopers who trampled peaceful protestors with horses and shot tear gas into the crowd. I was hit on the head with a nightstick and suffered a concussion on the bridge. I thought that was going to be my last demonstration. I thought I might die that day. read more

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