When people converge on Selma, Ala. this Saturday for the 50th anniversary of the historic Selma-to-Montgomery civil rights march, they'll have in their company a Minnesotan who was there in 1965.
All her life, Debbie Montgomery has blazed trails into the future. She was the youngest person, at age 17, to be elected to the NAACP's National Board of Directors. Later, she became St. Paul's first female police officer before eventually winning election to the City Council, according to the Twin Cities Daily Planet.
But now, she's got her eyes on a crucial event in the past. According to FOX 9, she's heading to Selma with 67 other Minnesotans to take part in the commemoration of the historic marches, in which Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and several other civil rights leaders participated.
"I just thought I need to be there to commemorate this historic march because of what it did for the people of Alabama and for the people of this country," Montgomery told the station.
Last November, the St. Paul City Council approved renaming a section of Marshall Avenue between Lexington Parkway and Western Avenue in her honor, according to the Pioneer Press.
The Selma anniversary events will run throughout the month of March, and organizers are bracing for massive crowds, the Montgomery Advertiser reports.
President Obama will deliver remarks at the historic Edmund Pettus Bridge, where marchers were attacked by law enforcement officers in an event known as "Bloody Sunday," according to WHNT.