Edmund Pettus Bridge Honored As Historic Landmark

Forty-eight years after civil rights demonstrators were beaten as they marched from Selma to Montgomery, the bridge they crossed during their trek to equality has been designated as a historic landmark. 

On the morning of March 7, 1965, Alabama governor George Wallace ordered all state and local police to stop the protest in the name of public safety. Dallas County Sheriff Jim Clark ordered all men over the age of 21 to report to the courthouse to be deputized. The demonstrators were then beaten with billy clubs by authorities and doused with tear gas. 

From the Huffington Post:

The bridge is one of 13 new sites to receive national recognition, including the home of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" author Harriet Beecher Stowe, and is also the location of the annual reenactment of the march.

“From the Civil War to civil rights, to the struggles and accomplishments of women, African Americans and Latinos, these sites highlight the mosaic of our nation’s historic past,” said Director Jarvis. “We are proud to administer the National Historic Landmarks Program to educate and inspire Americans through their country’s rich and complex history.”

The "Bloody Sunday" attack contributed heavily to the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, a law that is widely considered to be the country's most effective piece of civil rights legislation.

It's auspicious timing, given that the Edmund Pettus Bridge receives this honor from Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Director of the National Park Service Jonathan B. Jarvis, while Section 5 of the law is being challenged in the Supreme Court. Bloody Sunday was a monumental moment in the battle for equality, so it's fitting that it receives the landmark treatment.


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