Expansion project begins on Selma Interpretive Center
Published 10:35 am Friday, December 8, 2023
In a significant stride toward commemorating the historic Selma to Montgomery voting rights marches of 1965, the National Park Service (NPS) has acquired six properties near the iconic Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma. The move comes as part of a $10 million project to construct an interpretive education center aimed at preserving and sharing the hallowed history of the civil rights movement.
“These acquisitions will better position us to interpret how the Selma voting rights struggle helped draw the nation closer to the promise of democracy,” said Joy G. Kinard, Superintendent of the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail.
The properties, spanning 0.65 acres and strategically located, were generously donated by the National Park Foundation (NPF). The NPF facilitated the acquisition through funding from an anonymous donor and the Fund II Foundation.
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The Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail has been a beacon of historical significance, operating a visitor contact station at 2 Broad Street since 2011. The expansion project, a priority in President Biden’s fiscal year 2022 budget, aims to enhance the center’s footprint, providing a state-of-the-art visitor experience with a focus on educational programming, accessibility and community engagement.
Will Shafroth, president and CEO of the National Park Foundation, emphasized his organization’s commitment to sharing a comprehensive story of America.
“Improving the interpretive center in Selma will provide people greater access and the opportunity to better understand and appreciate the historic struggle for voting rights that unfolded in Selma during a critical moment in the civil rights movement,” Shafroth said.
The expansion project is scheduled to commence early next year andis slated for completion ahead of the 60th anniversary of Bloody Sunday in March of 2025. The NPS has actively engaged communities and stakeholders through a series of public meetings to discuss planning and design. Further details regarding additional meetings and adjustments to site operations during construction will be announced in the coming months.