Mayor of Selma, Ala., during '65 violence dies

By wire services
Published September 13, 2005

SELMA, Ala. - Joe Smitherman, a segregationist mayor during Selma's "Bloody Sunday" march in 1965 who went on to change his ways over 36 years in office, died Sunday (Sept. 11, 2005) at 75.

Mr. Smitherman died in a Montgomery hospital, where he was about to begin rehabilitation after hip surgery, his daughter, Diane Smitherman, said.

A former appliance salesman, Mr. Smitherman was a 34-year-old City Council member when first elected mayor in 1964 as a segregationist.

Only about 150 blacks were registered to vote in Selma that year. Six months later, marchers seeking equal voting rights were beaten by state troopers on Selma's Edmund Pettus Bridge in what came to be known as "Bloody Sunday."

The violence prompted the Selma-to-Montgomery Voting Rights March, led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and encouraged Congress to pass the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which opened Southern polling booths to large numbers of blacks.

At the time, Mr. Smitherman was opposed to blacks voting in large numbers. He eventually apologized for his segregationist past and in later years openly campaigned for black votes. His tenure as Selma's longest-serving mayor ended in 2000.

FBI analyst accused of giving classified material

NEWARK, N.J. - An FBI intelligence analyst with top secret clearance was charged Monday with passing classified information about Filipino leaders to current and former officials of that nation.

The analyst, Leandro Aragoncillo, sent some of the material to Michael Ray Aquino, a former deputy director of the Philippines National Police who lives in New York City, according to an FBI complaint made public Monday.

Both men were arrested Saturday at their homes.