Alabama Senate Votes To Rename Landmark Bridge Named After A Former Grand Dragon Of The KKK

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tags: slavery, racism, civil rights



Fifty years after the events of Bloody Sunday transpired on the Edmund Pettus Bridge — a bridge named after a former Ku Klux Klan leader — the Alabama Senate voted on a resolution to change the landmark’s name.

Ever since civil rights activists marched on Selma in 1965, the bridge has remained a symbol of white supremacy in a town that was once embroiled in a fight for (and against) African Americans’ enfranchisement. After a multiracial group of student activists launched a campaign to change the name of the bridge — Pettus was a Confederate general, a United States senator and the Grand Dragon of the Alabama KKK — Sen. Hank Sanders (D-Selma) sponsored a resolution to rename the site the Journey to Freedom Bridge. On Wednesday, the Senate voted in favor of doing so, but push-back from the House leaves the name’s fate uncertain. 

“Edmund Pettus will forever be remembered for the enforcement of laws that prevented African Americans from equal access to education, jobs, political representation, and other benefits of American citizenship,” the resolution says. “50 years after Bloody Sunday and other marches, Selma’s young people gathered over 180,000 signatures over a period of two months in support of renaming the bridge, and this new generation of young people believes that the current name of the bridge is a symbol of the past that must be changed.”




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