The Edmund Pettus bridge in Selma, Alabama is famous for being the spot of the most important march of the civil rights movement, which is made particularly ironic because Pettus was a Grand Dragon of the KKK. The Alabama Senate has voted to change that, but it still may not happen.
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.”…
Still, many Alabama lawmakers remain unmoved and reluctant to change. According to House Rules Chairman Mac McCutcheon (R-Huntsville), members of the House think the name is inextricably linked to the historic monument, and, therefore, shouldn’t be renamed. McCutcheon says the resolution will not be brought to the House floor before Thursday, when the legislative session is expected to end.
The same excuse always used for injustice: Tradition! Being traditional is utterly irrelevant to the question of whether something is right or wrong.