The Alabama Senate voted Wednesday to rename Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge, a civil rights icon that was the site of 1965’s Bloody Sunday and the subsequent Selma-to-Montgomery March, reports the Montgomery Advertiser. The resolution, sponsored by Sen. Hank Sanders, D-Selma, would rename the 75-year-old bridge the Journey to Freedom Bridge, following a grassroots movement by Students UNITE to rename the structure. The group collected 180,000 signatures on a change.org petition urging the renaming.
The resolution still needs approval from the House of Representatives and Gov. Robert Bentley. The idea got an icy reception from House Rules Chairman Mac McCutcheon, R-Huntsville, who sets the calendar for bills and resolutions. “A lot of House members have come to me about that resolution,” he said. “Their comments are ‘Why would we want to change a piece of history in our state?'” The Pettus Bridge namesake was a Confederate general who later served in the U.S. Senate. Pettus was elected a Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan in 1877 and served in the terrorist organization for at least a year.
EDITOR’S NOTE: For David J. Krajicek’s recent story for The Crime Report about the racially charged issue of historical naming rights in Alabama, CLICK HERE.