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50 Years Later, Reporter Recalls Covering March That Changed U.S. History

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Fifty years ago, thousands of marchers were about to enter Montgomery, Alabama, the state capital, in a march from Selma in a movement to secure voting rights that would change history.

Reporter George Barbour was there, too. He covered the historic event for KDKA Radio and the Westinghouse Broadcasting Network.

"I would go anywhere they wanted me to go. I was a reporter," says Barbour. "I wanted to go on the march, and I was told I might be killed."

But Barbour went. He marched, he reported, and at times, even felt like he could be killed.

"I was walking alone, and I heard someone yell out, 'He's alone. Let's get him,'" said Barbour. "I think I ran about five miles."

Barbour's broadcasts were heard across the country, firsthand reports from the front line:

"Dr. King did not want vengeance; he wanted justice, and a demonstration. He got what he wanted, almost."

"I always had to tell the story," says Barbour. "I always had to be able to live the story. So, I just concentrated on telling the story, reporting on what's going on."

And for Barbour, covering the Selma march meant being a part of history.

He still has the trench coat he wore every day while making the trek from Selma, the Newsweek magazine's that told the same stories he did.

He also has the interviews along the way - the stories of the people who marched - that reporters like Barbour who were there that day can never forget.

"I asked her, 'Why are you walking?' She said, 'I am marching for a better day for my children, and my children's children.' And she was one of the one's that was shot and killed. I'll never forget that," Barbour said.

Now, 50 years after that historic march, some of the details have faded, but what is clear is that the country was changed forever, and so was the life of a reporter from Pittsburgh sent to cover it.

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