The Common Good

Alabama Civil Rights Site Declared National Historic Landmark

Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala. Photo by Sandi Villarreal / Sojourners
Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala. Photo by Sandi Villarreal / Sojourners

On March 7, 1965, 600 people began a march toward Montgomery, Ala., from Brown Chapel AME in Selma. The group, let by civil rights activists like now-Congressman John Lewis and Rev. Hosea Williams, were stopped by state troopers on horseback. When the marchers refused to back away — standing their ground on the Edmund Pettus Bridge — the troopers attacked, beating, trampling, and tear gassing the participants.

Today, that bridge made famous on Bloody Sunday, was declared at National Historic Landmark, along with 12 other sites, by U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar.

“From the Civil War to civil rights, to the struggles and accomplishments of women, African Americans and Latinos, these sites highlight the mosaic of our nation’s historic past,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “We are proud to administer the National Historic Landmarks Program to educate and inspire Americans through their country’s rich and complex history.” 

Other new sites include the Harriet Beecher Stowe House in Hartford, Conn., Second Presbyterian Church in Chicago, and the artist retreat Yaddo in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

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