Viola Liuzzo's murder made her a scapegoat. It also sparked passage of the Voting Rights Act, which may soon be overturned.

Editor’s Note: The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments this week over a challenge to the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The following is an edited excerpt from John Blake’s 2004 book “Children of the Movement” about Viola Liuzzo, a Detroit housewife who was killed while working for voting rights in Selma, Alabama. This story contains objectionable language.

Story highlights

High court's voting rights debate omits role of one woman

Viola Liuzzo's murder helped spark Voting Rights Act passage

Detroit housewife's activism outraged nation

Liuzzo's family fought FBI coverup to clear her name

On March 26, 1965, Penny Liuzzo was watching the “Donna Reed Show” at her home in Detroit when a wave of nausea suddenly swept over her. In an instant, she knew what had happened.

“Oh my God,” she thought as she stood up and walked out of the room. “My mom’s dead.”