Edmund Pettus Bridge iconic, but not the true hero

Published 7:03pm Tuesday, March 12, 2013

It was announced yesterday by the Director of the National Park Service and the Secretary of the Interior that the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma is on a new list of 13 places to be added as national landmarks. The bridge was named for its historical significance in the 1965 Bloody Sunday March from Selma to Montgomery.

Just two weeks ago, national leaders came to Selma to celebrate and validate what Selma locals believe to be true — that our city and the bridge represent something that is important to all Americans black and white, young and old. What happened here during the civil rights movement really and truly did affect the entire world. Now this that this has been nationally and officially recognized, and it only took 48 years, others will start to believe us when we say Selma is much bigger and important than we may seem.

We always knew the Edmund Pettus Bridge was special because of its beauty and historical significance, but is great to know others in Washington D.C. and across the country think so too.

And while history was made on that bridge — history that unfolded live on television sets on a Sunday morning — it is not the bridge that made history.

The Edmund Pettus Bridge was not beaten with billy clubs, it did not march knowing it could be jailed and did not have tear gas thrown in its face or get trampled by a sheriff’s horse. It was the people, the marching foot soldiers, who made history on that day and spurred on the voting rights movement.

We are also proud to call many of those foot soldiers residents of Selma and an integral part of our community for what they sacrificed on that Sunday.

We would like to thank the National Park Service and the Department of the Interior for just acknowledging and validating what we have always thought — that we changed the world here and we plan to do again and again.

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