Saturday, March 7, 2015

From Bloody Sunday To The Selma To Montgomery National Historic Trail

Crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge, Selma, Alabama, March 7, 1965 
Today marks the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday in Selma, Alabama. That event was a tipping point in the movement to improve civil rights for black Americans in the South. In the watershed weeks that followed there were two more marches, the second one a 54 mile march from Selma to the State Capitol steps in Montgomery. The national press coverage of these events and the violence that accompanied them increased support for additional protections. The result was the Voting Rights Act of 1965 signed by President Lyndon Johnson on August 6, 1965. Thirty-one years later, the route of the march was designated a National Historic Trail:

The 1965 Selma to Montgomery voting rights march has been identified by historians and movement participants as one of the last great protests of the modern civil rights movement. In many ways marking the end of an era, the fight for voting rights represents the peak of the non-violent, interracial movements that characterized the civil rights struggle during the mid- twentieth century.   

Soon after its creation I began work with a team of National Park Service employees, civil rights principals, and march participants to develop the trail for public use. It was a long, difficult, but rewarding assignment involving several hundred individual stakeholders and scores of organizations. It was an honor to help preserve this teachable moment in our history and present its story to future generations.

Your site visit will focus on the following themes:

Start your visit at the National Park Service's visitor center in Selma at the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge. 

Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail Alternatives Summary, Comprehensive Management Plan, National Park Service, Southeast Regional Office, Fall 1999 

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