The Edmund Pettus Bridge, the scene of Bloody Sunday.
If your driving from Atlanta toward Selma, Alabama, you probably will take highway 80 (US-80) when you head west from Montgomery. It’s a pretty long drive. As I remember, its nearly 50 miles. If you’re doing a civil rights trail pilgrimage, you will think about the marchers that made the trip in the opposite direction, east from Selma to Montgomery, the state capital. On my first trip to Selma, I didn’t pay attention to the gravity of the sacred ground traveled.
The Edmund Pettus Bridge crosses the Alabama River. Its not an unusual site. The Bridge seems kind of typical. Since first seeing The Bridge, its weight and significance in respect to the Civil Rights Movement has become overwhelming. Now when referring to the attack on peaceful marchers by law enforcement personnel, on March 7, 1965 as Bloody Sunday.
I remembered news video of marchers having dogs attack and police hitting innocent peaceable with “billy clubs”. So on subsequent trips to Selma, stopping along the road, and walking the hallowed ground seemed appropriate. Imagining the wounds suffered by marchers like that of now U.S. Congressman, John Lewis almost seem hard to believe.
Occasionally, the pain of those marchers becomes to real to dwell on. To add to the pain and the insult of so many African-Americans still driving and walking across the bridge named for a Confederate General can be too difficult to bear. A small consolation is the laws and leaders that The Bridge carried not just over the Alabama River but into our American History.