Edmund Pettus Bridge

Symbol of Social Justice

In looking for a symbol that represents the Children’s Museum of Art of Social Justice we were inspired by the pivotal moment in history that began the Civil Rights Movement.

The bridge in our logo is to symbolize, represent, and honor the historic moment that took place at Edmund Pettus Bridge.

Selma-to-Montgomery March 

The Selma-to-Montgomery March for voting rights were three protest marches held in 1965–that represented the political and emotional peak of the modern civil rights movement. On “Bloody Sunday,” March 7, 1965, some 600 civil rights marchers headed east out of Selma on U.S. Route 80.

It was along this highway from Selma, Alabama to the state capital of Montgomery that nonviolent activists demonstrated for their rights to vote as citizens and to exercise their constitutional right to vote.  At the first march the activists and demonstrators were meant by state troopers and county posse-men who attacked them with billy clubs and tear gas after they passed over the county line.  The law enforcement beat Amelia Boynton, the organizer of the march, to unconsciousness and it was publicized worldwide with a picture of her lying wounded on the bridge.

The second march took place days later where again state troopers, police and marchers met face to face at the county end of the bridge where the troopers because of a federal injunction had no choice but to let them pass. However, Martin L. King led the marchers back to the church. It was later that evening when James Reeb, a Unitarian Universalist minister from Boston that came to aid and support the marchers was murdered.  His death galvanized other clergy and sympathizers from across the United States to participate in the marches.

The marches, acts of civil disobediences, and horrific events of violence produced an a strong  expression of public disapproval and anger that led to President Lyndon Johnson to ask congress for the Voting Rights Bill to be introduced and passed.

The third March took place on March 21st, 1965 without protection from Governor Wallace who refused to.  However, President Johnson sent 1,900 members of the Alabama National Guard under federal command along with Federal FBI agents and Marshals to protect the marchers as they marched to Montgomery where on March 24th they arrived. The following day on March 25th at the Alabama State Capitol were joined by 25,000 people in support the voting rights.

The route is memorialized as the “Selma To Montgomery Voting Rights Trail,” and is designated as a U.S. National Historic Trail.

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