Looking for Selma to drivePublished 8:44pm Thursday, May 16, 2013
I finally did something Monday I had been putting off for months. I changed my license plate tag from Pennsylvania to Alabama. With that change, I also had to have a new driver’s license made, one with my Selma address.
As I signed my name on the many legal documents and stood in front of the blue drape, a cheesy smile plastered on my face, I couldn’t help but recount all the places my silver CR-V has been. Originally purchased in Delaware, my car’s first home was in the Amish Country of Pennsylvania. Driving 5 mph behind a horse and buggy was a common scene for the family car. My sisters and I would wave to the Amish families in front of us, the women in blue bonnets and the men in black slacks. Then, in 2005, our beloved car traveled some 800 miles to the heart of Dixie — Birmingham, Ala. No longer surrounded by small cars and horses, our car was now in a sea of trucks and Roll Tide bumper stickers.
After graduating high school in 2008, I said a tearful farewell to my family as they drove back to Pennsylvania — where they still live today. It only took four years though until I was reunited with the family car, this time to call it my own. Keys in hand and the windows rolled down, I felt unstoppable. I had graduated college, accepted a job offer at the Times-Journal and was ready to take on the world. Loading up my car, I hit the road for Selma. Little did I know all the new adventures my car would. Zooming across town for ribbon cuttings, interviews and breaking news quickly became a daily routine for me. Without my reliable car, I would be useless.
As I look at my car’s past, I can’t help but draw similarities to Selma’s diverse history. Beginning as a French colony in the early 1700’s, Selma was first recorded as Ecor Bienville. Then, in the 1800’s, William R. King, a politician from North Carolina, renamed the city to Selma — meaning “high seat” or “throne.”
Then came the tumultuous years of the Civil War — an era I think we all know Selma played a pivotal role in. Selma’s spotlight didn’t dim with the Civil War’s closure, however. Our Black Belt town played a key role in the turbulent voting rights movement. With the iconic Selma to Montgomery march, the nation’s eyes turned to Selma. And today, I believe the state and nation still view Selma as a keystone in our nation’s present and future.
Much like my car’s diverse, and somewhat strange travels, Selma possesses a unique past — a past that I believe will lead it into an even greater future. And just like I depend on my car to get me to every city council meeting and store opening, I depend on Selma to stay strong and drive into the future with bright headlights.