Edmund Pettus Bridge
Location: Broad St. (between Water Ave. and Cosby Ave.), Selma, Ala.
Significance: State troopers attacked civil rights protesters here on "Bloody Sunday"
On Sunday, March 7, 1965, about 600 civil rights protesters left Selma via U.S. Route 80 to protest voting rights. There was little conflict until marchers reached the Edmund Pettus Bridge, which extends across the Alabama River. At the end of the bridge was a vicious wall of state troopers, who asked demonstrators to turn around and head home. Before anything could be discussed, troopers attacked protesters, beating them with nightsticks and charging them while mounted on horses. The violent episode—17 individuals were injured—quickly became known as "Bloody Sunday." The national attention it garnered proved instrumental in convincing President Johnson to sign the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Since the attack, many have gathered at the bridge to march in honor of Bloody Sunday. John Lewis, former president of SNCC who was attacked that day, was present at marches on the 30th and 40th anniversaries of the the event. In 1996, the Olympic torch crossed the bridge, carried by activist and former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young.