Edmund Pettus Bridge, site of 1965’s Bloody Sunday and the subsequent Selma-to-Montgomery March, may get a new name. The person who the bridge was named after, Edmund Pettus, was a U.S. senator, a Confederate general and a KKK “grand dragon.”
On Wednesday, a resolution was passed by the Alabama State Senate to rename the 75-year-old bridge the Journey to Freedom Bridge, following a grassroots movement by a group called Students UNITE, which collected 180,000 signatures on a change.org petition, reports The Montgomery Advertiser.
“There are many things in our society to change that are more significant than the name of a bridge, but removing this vestige of the past will serve as a parallel to the ongoing journey towards equal rights, fair representation and open opportunity,” the resolution, sponsored by Sen. Hank Sanders (D-Selma), read.
The Alabama House of Representatives has yet to vote on the idea, and the resolution will also need approval from Gov. Robert Bentley.
Predictably, there is some push back, as Lee Sentell of the Alabama Tourism Department said changing the bridge’s name could threaten its status as a national historic landmark, and House Rules Chairman Mac McCutcheon (R-Huntsville), said the resolution would not go before the House Thursday when the session closes for the year.
“A lot of House members that have come to me about that resolution,”McCutcheon said to The Advertiser. “Their comments are ‘Why would we want to change a piece of history in our state?'”
Why indeed? Only Alabama and its representatives can answer that one.