Target: Alabama Governor Robert J. Bentley
Goal: Change the name of historic bridge named after violent white supremacist.
The civil rights landmark of Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama could finally receive a long-awaited name change, thanks to a resolution being considered in the state’s legislature. Edmund Pettus was a leader of the KKK, and the bridge being named after him reflects a commitment to the old social order of slavery and segregation. Demand that this bridge finally get renamed.
The Edmund Pettus Bridge became a focal point in the Civil Rights Movement after peaceful demonstrators trying to march to the state capitol to address the state’s African American voting rights were violently attacked by police officers on the bridge, leaving dozens severely injured. The bridge is also infamous for a perhaps less well-known artifact of the United States’ shameful history, however.
Edmund Pettus was a senator, a brigadier general in the Confederate army, and a Grand Dragon of Alabama’s Ku Klux Klan. In this capacity, he dedicated his life to maintaining a codified system of white supremacy, racism, and violence that existed solely to perpetuate the notion that black people are less human than white people. The bridge bearing his name is a monument to this man and all that he stood for.
In the face of that atrocious reality, a campaign has been launched to reclaim the bridge and shift its focus away from the KKK leader and towards its significant civil rights symbolism. The bill being considered by lawmakers would rename it the “Journey to Freedom Bridge.” Sign the petition below to demand that Alabama Governor Robert Bentley approve this resolution so that this bridge can finally stop being a shameless testament to a proud racist.
Dear Governor Bentley,
I am writing you today regarding a resolution that is being discussed in your state legislature and that will hopefully arrive in your office sooner rather than later. The resolution I am referring to was introduced by Selma Senator Hank Sanders and would rename the Edmund Pettus Bridge the “Journey to Freedom Bridge.”
Such a change has been a long time coming. Though it was entirely inappropriate for your state to name a bridge after a violent white supremacist and KKK leader in 1940 when it was first built, it has only gotten more offensive over time. The fact that it was the site of a brutal police crackdown on peaceful civil rights demonstrators that has since become iconic provides even more grounds for its renaming.
This resolution is a vital one that would shift the historical focus of the bridge away from the perpetrators of violent white supremacism and towards those who rose up and fought—and continue to fight—against it. I demand that you approve Senator Sanders’ resolution so that this bridge can finally stop being a monument to the racist Pettus.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: United States Department of Justice