The Edmund Pettus Bridge across the Alabama River in Selma gained notoriety and became a landmark of the American civil rights movement on March 7,1965 when armed Alabama police attacked unarmed peaceful civil rights demonstrators, including John Lewis, while they were crossing the bridge. The day soon became known as "Bloody Sunday". John Lewis, a non-violent protester, suffered a skull fracture and he bore scars on his head from the incident for the rest of his life.
John Robert Lewis, an American statesman and civil-rights leader who served in the United States House of Representatives for Georgia's 5th congressional district from 1987 until he died in 2020, was one of the "Big Six" leaders of the civil rights movement in the 1960s, a Freedom Rider, and worked hard for the Civil Rights Act to became law. Throughout his life, he fought for justice.
On the anniversaries of the "Bloody Sunday", thousands of people, including John Lewis, have visited the bridge. In his own words: "On March 7, 1965, I gave a little blood on the Edmund Pettus Bridge for the right to vote".
Edmund Pettus, an American politician and a former Confederate Army senior officer, after whom the bridge was named, was a white supremacist and a grand dragon in the Ku Klux Klan. This is not a legacy to be celebrated.
Taking into account the importance of the bridge as a symbol for the Civil rights movement, we ask:
- The bridge, currently named after a white supremacist and racist, to be renamed in the honor of Rep. John Lewis, a civil rights icon and perpetual fighter for justice, who has shed blood on that very bridge while peacefully standing up for what he believed in.
Please sign this petition if you believe in the values John Lewis represented. John Lewis urged us to answer the highest calling of our hearts and stand up for what we truly believe in. Let this bridge bear the name of a man who believed that peace will triumph over violence, aggression, and war.