Gary May is a professor of history at the University of Delaware and the author of Bending Toward Justice: The Voting Rights Act and the Transformation of American Democracy, out in paperback from Duke University Press in January 2015.

GAME CHANGER

Beginning with the televised debate between John Kennedy and Richard Nixon, the perceived winner of the presidential debates has gone on to occupy the White House.

Debate Fodder

The Republican presidential candidates have a lot to answer for regarding their shameful record on voting rights. Here are some questions for Thursday’s GOP debate.

BREAKTHROUGH

Fifty years ago this week, thousands in the Civil Rights movement set out from Selma, Alabama, to march to Montgomery, and this time, triumphantly, they made it.

BLOODY THURSDAY

The racist violence in Selma, Alabama, 50 years ago lives in history as ‘‘Bloody Sunday,’’ but do not forget the February night of vigilantism in Marion that inspired the Selma March.

UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s efforts to eliminate the poll tax would in the end help poor whites as much as it did disenfranchised blacks.

WARTS AND ALL

Finally, we have a major film on civil rights in which African Americans are the heroes in their own story. Too bad director Ava DuVernay gets the history wrong in Selma.

Unsung

A nearly forgotten hero of the Civil Rights movement, the determined government lawyer won Civil Rights convictions from white juries and bravely diffused countless conflicts.

Birmingham Church Bombing

Why did it take 40 years to bring the perpetrators of the Birmingham church bombing to justice? Did the FBI stand in the way?