A second wave of protesters, organized by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., returned two days later, but a restraining order issued by a federal judge stopped them again from crossing the bridge. Two weeks later, that decision was overturned, and protesters — galvanized by the brutal images from the initial march — proceeded to Birmingham, Ala. 

The White House has prioritized outreach to the African-American community in recent days, with President Obama taping three radio interviews with black radio hosts. The president also met Thursday with African-American leaders at the White House for a discussion of the economy, sequestration and education.

Next week, Obama will attend the dedication of the statue of Rosa Parks being added to Statuary Hall on Capitol Hill.

“To think that a seamstress who was subject to discrimination her entire life ends up in the same hall as some of the titans of American political history, I think says a story about how change comes about in this country," Obama said in an interview with Joe Madison on SiriusXM. "It doesn’t come from the top down— it comes from the bottom up. And she represented better than anybody the kind of strength and determination that so many ordinary Americans show every single day in pursuit of a better country."