eric_holder.gifSELMA, Ala. (AP) _ U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder says the law that opened Southern polling places to blacks and ended all-white government must be defended.

Holder spoke Sunday to more than 500 people at Selma's bridge-crossing jubilee. The event marked the 44th anniversary of the Selma-to-Montgomery, Ala., march that led to passage of the landmark Voting Rights Act.

The country's first black attorney general says there is no time to rest in defending the law. The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a challenge to the law.

Marchers in 1965 were beaten by state troopers on Selma's Edmund Pettus Bridge.

The 50-mile march was later completed under federal protection with Martin Luther King Jr. in front.

Pictured above is U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.