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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

The Clintons, Obama Attend Civil Rights Event in Alabama

SELMA, Alabama -- U.S. presidential candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton crossed campaign paths for the first time as they paid homage to civil rights activists who helped give them the chance to break barriers to the White House.

The two U.S. senators Sunday linked arms with activists who 42 years ago were beaten by police during a peaceful voting rights march. "Bloody Sunday" shocked the country and helped bring attention to the racist voting practices that kept blacks from the polls.

"I'm here because somebody marched for our freedom," Obama, who, if elected, would become the first black president, said from the Brown Chapel AME Church where the march began on March 7, 1965.

Not to be outdone in the hunt for black votes, Hillary Clinton also spoke in Selma at a church three blocks away and brought a secret weapon. Three days before the march anniversary, her campaign announced that her husband, former U.S. President Bill Clinton, would accompany her and be inducted into Selma's Voting Rights Hall of Fame.

Senator Clinton, who, if elected, would be the first woman president, said the Voting Rights Act and the Selma march made her presidential campaign possible, as well as those of Obama and New Mexico Democratic Governor Bill Richardson, who would be the first Hispanic president.

"After all the hard work getting rid of literacy tests and poll taxes, we've got to stay awake because we've got a march to continue," Clinton said in a speech interrupted by applause.