Scenic USA - Alabama

Edmund Pettus Bridge

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Edmund Pettus Bridge - Selma, Alabama

Photos by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Artist Website

   The Edmund Pettus Bridge is more than a steel arch carrying traffic over the Alabama River in Selma, Songs of Selma Park Entrance - Water Avenue and Broad Street, Selma, AL it's become a symbol of African American voting rights, the American Civil Rights Movement and the March 7th, 1965 melee called Bloody Sunday. Now the icon of the Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights Trail, the Pettus Bridge confrontation marked the turning point for voter's rights in Alabama.
   In 1961 the majority of the population in Selma's Dallas County was black, with more than 15,000 of voting age. Beaten, harassed and arrested, less than one percent of black eligible voters were ever registered. After numerous registration drives and protests, an estimated 600 civil rights marchers left the Brown Chapel and headed over the Edmund Pettus Bridge. A wall of troopers and deputized white males met the protestors on the other side of the bridge. Greeted with a flurry of nightsticks, many protestors were knocked to the ground and then tear-gassed by state troopers. Mounted troopers charged the crowd on Edmund Pettus Bridge traditional view horseback, shocking the American public with horrifying television and newspaper images of Bloody Sunday. Two weeks later, with Federal and National Guard troops present, nearly 8000 marchers made their way over the Pettus Bridge on a 54 mile march to the Montgomery Capital.
   News of Bloody Sunday lead to swift action by then President Lyndon B. Johnson, signing into law the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The new law hoped to insure equal voting rights for all African-Americans. Since 1965, anniversary marches mark the progress of political changes across the South.

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