Protest marches have been part of Selma's civil rights fabric since 1965, but an 860-mile trek to Washington had a minister leaning on the Bible for heavenly support Saturday.

The Rev. Theresa Dear noted the magnitude of what lies ahead, but never doubted that the "40-day-and-40-night" march will be successful.

Dear told the Montgomery Advertiser (http://on.mgmadv.com/1KI1EQp ) just before the march began at the Edmund Pettus Bridge, "We are doing something of biblical proportions."

Sponsored by the NAACP, "America's Journey for Justice" is scheduled to extend through eastern seaboard states before ending in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 15.

More than 200 supporters took part in the first leg of a march that will be about 16 times the 54-mile distance covered by voting rights activists in 1965.