Selma congresswoman opposes renaming ‘Bloody Sunday’ bridge

BY JASON DICK
CQ-ROLL CALL/TNS

150612_nation02Rep. Terri A. Sewell, D-Ala., who represents Selma and grew up there, has come out strongly against renaming the Edmund Pettus Bridge, site of the 1963 Bloody Sunday clash between civil rights marchers and Alabama police.

On June 3, the Alabama Senate voted to rename the bridge, named after a Confederate general and grand dragon of the Ku Klux Klan, to the Journey to Freedom Bridge. The state House and the governor would still have to approve the bill before the name could be changed.

Sewell, who is African-American, said it is important to recognize the history behind the bridge.

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“I am strongly opposed to changing the name of the Edmund Pettus Bridge. The historical irony is an integral part of the complicated history of Selma — a city known for its pivotal role in Civil War and the civil rights movement. The bridge is an iconic symbol of the struggle for voting rights in America, and its name is as significant as its imposing structure.

“Changing the name of the bridge would change the course of history and compromise the historical integrity of the voting rights movement. As inheritors of the legacy surrounding the historical events that took place in Selma, we must safeguard that history — good and bad and resist attempts to rewrite it,” a release from Sewell’s office states.’’

The city of Selma hosted thousands of people in February and March for the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday.

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