John Lewis, Towering Figure of Civil Rights Era, Dies at 80
The death of John Lewis, towering figure of the civil rights era, is fueling a movement to rename the Edmund Pettus bridge.
The bridge became a flash point on March 7, 1965, as protesters, led by Mr. Lewis and other civil rights leaders, were stopped and beaten by state troopers as they marched to Alabama’s capital.
The death of Representative John Lewis yesterday has renewed interest in a campaign to rename the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., the site of a turning point in the fight for civil rights.
Named after a former Confederate general and Ku Klux Klan leader, the bridge became the focus of national attention in 1965, when Alabama state troopers beat demonstrators who were marching for Black voting rights in what became known as Bloody Sunday.
My father volunteered at Selma and Montgomery after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr called for assistance from the north, back in 1965. I’ve walked across the bridge a few years ago. There’s only one thing to say: “We Shall Overcome.”