Selma Police Athletic League welcomes visitors

Published 9:56 pm Thursday, June 29, 2017

The Selma Police Athletic League showed off some of the city’s history Wednesday to a fellow league visiting from Florida.

The Lakeland Police Athletic League is on a summer road trip visiting colleges and historic cities and decided to make a trip to Selma after Detective Dorothy Cowan, who oversees Selma PALs, invited them.

“It’s great [to have them here] because we usually go to Florida or Kentucky and play in basketball tournaments each year,” Cowan said Wednesday. “This year they’re coming over, and we’re going to be exploring the historic side of Selma, so it’s going to be a little bit different but good at the same time.”

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As the Lakeland PAL group made their way over the Edmund Pettus Bridge, Cowan and others greeted them with excitement. The first item on their agenda was walking across the historic Edmund Pettus Bridge.

“We want to show them all this history we have here,” Cowan said. “Of course, the first thing they want to do is walk across the bridge.”

Tim Abram is the executive director of the Lakeland Police Athletic League and was excited to bring his group of 43 teenagers from 13 to 18 years old to see some of Selma’s history.

“This is such a great occasion for the kids in our community first, getting exposure and learning about the [Voting Rights Movement] and what happened here and took place many years ago,” he said. “It’s very instrumental to them. We want for our kids to grow up and learn the history, so being here firsthand is phenomenal.”

Abram said reading about the Voting Rights Movement, and the role it played in history is much different than actually being in Selma to see it firsthand.

“A lot of times when you’re talking about it in the books or reading about it and even watching moves about it, it still doesn’t really send a clear picture of actually being present,” he said.

“A lot of these kids today will continue to know about Selma, Alabama, for years to come. They’ll be sitting in classrooms in colleges, and they’ll say hey, I’ve visited there. I got a chance to walk the bridge.”

The group also toured the Selma Interpretive Center and planned to check out Brown Chapel AME Church. Whether it is playing basketball or learning about history, Cowan said she just enjoys spending time with the youth.

“I’ve been doing this for a long time, and I enjoy it, and that’s the reason I’ve been doing it,” she said. “We get to meet so many kids from different cities and states, including the kids here. You’d be surprised at how many good kids we have out there that want to do good.”