Tweeting the 1965 Selma to Montgomery Protests

I decided on the march(es) from Selma to Montgomery in 1965 for this assignment because I felt that it was a big enough event that it would have had a lot of attention on Twitter had that been around at the time. I went back and forth on which person’s perspective to tweet from; MLK, John Lewis, George Wallace, the Selma or Montgomery Police Department? Eventually, I decided to use President Johnson’s perspective for a couple of reasons. One, had this event taken place in the era of Twitter, the president would definitely be tweeting about it, and Johnson played a major role in the Civil Rights Movement even though he was not physically present at any of the marches. The second is that the president’s Twitter gets some of the most attention, Johnson tweeting would have been some of the most effective means of broadcasting the event. I was already familiar with the Selma to Montgomery protests, Bloody Sunday, and LBJ’s role in Civil Rights, but I did have to look up a timeline since there were several events that took place within the larger movement spanning a couple of weeks. I read through the speech given by Johnson to Congress in which he advocated for equal voting rights; this is how I established a tone/voice for Twitter LBJ and incorporated the language he used (such as the tweet I made up in which he called on Wallace to uphold the oath he took when taking office and the famous “we shall overcome” quote from his speech). I also took to Twitter and looked through some high-profile tweets about protests from liberal politicians to form my tweets. Coming up with the retweet and like counts was a little more difficult than I thought it would be; I ended up looking at the number of likes and retweets that actual tweets have gotten (sticking with the same ones involving protests that influential politicians had tweeted) and adjusted the numbers to scale based on the lower U.S. population back in 1965.

Sources:

http://www.lbjlibrary.org/lyndon-baines-johnson/speeches-films/president-johnsons-special-message-to-the-congress-the-american-promise

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/03/05/black-history-bloody-sunday-timeline/24463923/