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The 54th Mile Project

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 2023

This podcast features the founders of the 54th Mile Project and discusses the project’s genesis.


During this episode of the Justice Today podcast, three Black law enforcement leaders— Shon Barnes, Chief of Police, Madison, Wisconsin; Obed Magny, CEO, Magny Leadership, Las Vegas, Nevada; Tarrick McGuire, Assistant Chief of Police, Arlington, Texas—discuss why they walked 54 miles from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama—retracing the route of a famous 1965 civil rights march—and how their journey changed their professional and personal lives. The trio undertook their walk as something of a spiritual quest. They were retracing the route of an historic 1965 civil rights march led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, which began with the infamous Bloody Sunday confrontation on Selma's Edmund Pettus Bridge, where Alabama law enforcement officers savagely assaulted thousands of peaceful protestors There, a young activist named John Lewis, who would go on to a celebrated career in Congress, was beaten and sustained a fractured skull. But for these three, the walk was about much more than history. All were men in their 40s who had risen to influential positions in law enforcement. All were confronting the national uproar that had begun a few months earlier with the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. And all three were Black. By the time they arrived in Montgomery, they had begun imagining what they would later call the 54th Mile Project. Working with the National Policing Institute and supported by funding from BJA, they are building a training program that will help law enforcement agencies across the country better serve and protect communities of color. The program will draw on their decades of law enforcement experience and the inspiration they found on the path from Selma to Montgomery.

Date Published: April 1, 2023