“It’s far past time to rename the Edmund Pettus Bridge after Rep. John Lewis, a civil rights icon that nearly gave his life on that bridge,” said Michael Starr Hopkins. “Edmund Pettus was a bitter racist, undeserving of the honor bestowed upon him. As we wipe away this country's long stain of bigotry, we must also wipe away the names of men like Edmund Pettus.”
The Edmund Pettus Bridge, now a National Historic Landmark, was the site of the brutal Bloody Sunday beatings of civil rights marchers during the first march for voting rights. The televised attacks were seen all over the nation, prompting public support for the civil rights activists in Selma and for the voting rights campaign. After Bloody Sunday, protestors were granted the right to continue marching, and two more marches for voting rights followed.
Why was the Edmund Pettus bridge named after Edmund Pettus?
The bridge is named after Edmund Winston Pettus, a lawyer, judge, Confederate brigadier general, head of the Alabama Ku Klux Klan, and U.S. senator. Because of Pettus' role in supporting slavery and racism, a movement is aiming to rename the bridge.