The Edmund Pettus Bridge is the highlight of one of the best day trips of the Alabama backroads on old highway 80 from Montgomery to Selma.
Selma is one of the most historic towns not only in the state of Alabama, but also the country for the civil rights movement.
There are several historic places to see in Selma and it all starts with this famous bridge.
This historic bridge carries US business 80 across the Alabama River to downtown Selma.
It was built in 1940 and is named after Edmund Winston Pettus, who were several different hats and some of them were quite disturbing.
She was a former Confederate brigadier general in the Civil War, as well as a Democratic United States Senator.
However, he was also a Grand Wizard in the Alabama chapter of the Ku Klux Klan.
When state legislators made the decision to name the bridge after him in 1940, John Giggie, who teaches Southern history at the University of Alabama, said there was no mistaking the message that would send.
This was especially true because of what it replaced. The new Edmund Pettus Bridge replaced an old swing bridge that had to be opened by hand and was considered extremely outdated.
The fact that this new bridge was considered an architecture wonder was quickly replaced by the controversy surrounding the name of the man it was named after.
The Edmund Pettus Bridge is a steel arch formation that has a central span of 250 feet with nine concrete arches that support both the bridge and roadway on the east side.
However, what really made it famous was its involvement in the March 7th, 1965 “Bloody Sunday March”.
It was during this historic march that Civil Rights Demonstrators were attacked by armed police and beaten by Billy clubs and tear gas.
In several famous photos from that historic day, you can see marchers not only being struck, but trampled as well.
In these photos you can see the name Edmund Pettus Bridge across the steel beams.
Because of this, it has become one of the most, if not the most, hallowed places in the country’s civil right history.
In fact, it has become quite unique during its checkered history.
It has gone from honoring white supremacy to becoming perhaps the greatest of all the monuments for racial equality.
On March 21 the demonstrative Thursday crossed the bridge again without incident and the bridge was DECLARED a National Historic Monument on March 11,2013.
Alabama Gift Store
Numerous Items for You and Your Family to Enjoy
See it here at the Gift Store
Copyright 2019-2023 Alabamabackroads.com
All Rights Reserved