This past week in anticipation of the 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday” and a visit by the president of the United States, a group calling itself “Friends of Forrest” placed a billboard of the famous slave trader, Confederate general and Ku Klux Klan member within sight of the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Member, Pat Godwin, is on record as describing the 1965 Voting Rights march as “the mother of all orgies.”
I think it is safe to assume who is feeling “skeered” these days.
“The single-most powerful word in our democracy is the word ‘we.’ We the People. We shall overcome. Yes we can. That word is owned by no one. It belongs to everyone. Oh, what a glorious task we are given, to continually try to improve this great nation of ours.”
President Barack Obama speaking in Selma, Alabama on March 7, 2015
Today marks the 50th anniversary of what came to be known as “Bloody Sunday.” Civil Rights marchers were brutally beaten back by state police while trying to cross Selma, Alabama’s Edmund Pettus bridge on their way to the state capital to demand voting rights. The bridge that the marchers crossed in March 1965 (as well as tens of thousands of visitors, who have since crossed in honor and in memory of the events of that year) is named after a Confederate officer and Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan in Alabama.
A student petition to change the name of the bridge has been organized by area students and has garnered over 150,000 signatures. Though the petition does not offer any specific suggestions, there has been a call in recent years to change the name to honor Georgia Representative John Lewis. Given Lewis’s role in the Civil Rights Movement and his involvement in the Selma marches this would certainly be a well-deserved honor. Few will deny that Lewis is an American hero. Continue reading “Why Changing the Name of the Edmund Pettus Bridge is a Mistake”
Selma to Montgomery, Alabama (March 21, 1965)
Ferguson to Jefferson City, Missouri (December 4, 2014)
I thought I would share this photograph given that the Supreme Court was in the news this week. This billboard was sponsored by the John Birch Society and unlike many of their billboards this one includes a Confederate flag. Also interesting to note the reference to Belmont, Massachusetts.