Joe Smitherman, 75, who was a young, newly elected mayor of Selma, Ala., during the 1965 "Bloody Sunday" confrontation between law enforcement officers and protesters, died Sunday in a Montgomery, Ala., hospital. He had undergone surgery after breaking a hip in a fall at his home Thursday.
Smitherman was elected to the Selma City Council in 1960 when he was 30 and served as mayor from 1964 until he was defeated in 2000 by James Perkins Jr., Selma's first black mayor. "I got into politics to try to get industry, pave the streets, install streetlights," Smitherman said in the 1990 history "Voices of Freedom," compiled by Henry Hampton and Steve Fayer. "Segregation was not an issue, because everybody was a segregationist."