federal district judge frank m. johnson lifted the injunction on the march and SNCC and SCLC leaders planned a third march for march 21 st . in preparation for the march the federal government sent 2,000 solders and 1,900 alabama national guardsmen to selma to protect the marchers. since the march 7 th aborted march the protesters ranks swelled from 600 to over 2,500 participants. the selma to montgomery march covers 54 miles and several camp sites were arranged at intervals along the route. pictured is one of the march camp sites.
the old depot museum is a great place to visit for visitors interested in the history of selma. the old depot was a site in the battle of selma in 1865. the old depot museum has a collection of photos and artifacts relating to selma's past and an interesting collection of civil war relics. most visitors to selma come for it's civil rights historic sites but selma has a rich history prior to the 1960's that is worth exploring.
just south of US 80 is the selma old town historic district. pictured is the lee-bender-butler house in the historic district. this beautiful greek revival home was built in 1850 by master builder thomas helm lee. thomas helm lee was a cousin of confederate general robert e. lee. thomas helm lee also built the 1855 sturdivant hall and the 1857 church street methodist church. for those interested in antebellum architecture the old town historic district is worth a visit in downtown selma.
most visitors to selma come to tour the selma to montgomery national historic trail. the lowndes county interpretive center is a good first stop to get information and maps of the trail. for those interested in 1960's civil rights history the interpretive center is a must see spot in the selma area.
The Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail was established by Congress in 1996 to commemorate the events, people, and route of the 1965 Voting Rights March in Alabama.
This is a lovely country road most of the way, belying its dramatic role in the history of justice. The starting point is the Brown Chapel A.M.E. Church in Selma. Of course, it passes the Pettus Bridge. The areas where the marchers stayed overnight are clearly marked. The Lowndes County Interpretive Center, at the midway point, is a fantastic resource. Easy to miss (but most moving) is the memorial to Viola Liuzzo, the Michigan wife and mother who dropped everything to go help with the march and was slain by the KKK. The terminus is the Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery.
How can you build a museum with this mouthful of a name and expect anyone to come visit? This is a downright shame because the LCIC is the best Civil Rights museum of the ones I visited. Like the others, it starts with a movie to set the origins of the event, followed by an exhibit.
This is the only place where you are made aware that the segregationists didn't vanish in a puff of smoke in 1965. The movie contains remarks from a well dressed, articulate blonde lady of today, who spouts out racist nonsense that chills your blood.
Another haunting vision is a photo of poor black sharecroppers watching the marchers go by their shack. The marchers have that 60s look we know well from documentaries about the movement, but the sharecroppers could have been photographed in 1880 Congo.
You cannot skip this museum if you are interested in this chapter in history.
At first glance, nothing distinguishes this Church which stands at the edge of a housing project. Yet it is from here that the movement started which would hasten the end of the worst injustice in the history of our country.
I stumbled upon this synagogue after picking up bottled water at a Rite-Aid. According to the historical marker nearby, three of Selma's mayors in the early Twentieth Century were Jews. I wouldn't have imagined there were three Jews in Selma - ever!
I found an interesting video on Youtube exploring the complex feelings of elderly Selma Jews as they recollect the turbulent years, especially how they didn't always appreciate the enthusiastic participation of (more modern) Northern Jews in the Civil Rights movement.
This is a rundown but characterful neighborhood of old warehouses near the river, definitely worth a stroll. When I was there, it was as empty as if a neutron bomb had gone off the day before. Come to think of it, that was true of so many places in the South!
This unique looking bridge was the location for the brutally aborted first march on Montgomery, for the symbolic second march, and for the start of the heroic third march - all within March of 1965. Edmund Pettus was a confederate general and U.S. Senator. The bridge was completed in 1940 and it carries U.S. Route 80 over the Alabama River.
The bridge is easy to access from either end, and you can cross it by foot. You can even step into the traffic to take pictures without risking your life.
See the travelogue and the videos to discover my obsession with the Pettus Bridge.
located at the base of the edmund pettus bridge is the "bloody sunday" monument. when governor george wallace was informed of plans for the civil rights march from selma to mongomery he denounced the march as a threat to public safety. wallace authorized the alabama state police and the dallas county sheriff's office to block the marchers from crossing the bridge. on march 7 th 1965 the police beat the marchers with billy clubs, bull whips and sprayed them with tear gas. the police beat back the protesters back over the bridge and the march 7 th march was cancelled.
the terminus of the selma-montgomery civil rights trail is the alabama state capitol building. on march 25 th 1965 25,000 marchers walked up dexter ave. to the steps of the capitol. martin luther king finished the protest march with his famous speech "how long, not long". for those interested in 1960's civil rights history the selma-montgomery civil rights trail is well worth taking.
the city of st. jude was founded by catholic priest harold purcell in the mid 1930's. a hospital was built in the city of st. jude in 1951. the city of st. jude hospital was the first intergrated hospital in the southeast. during the selma to montgomery march the city of st. jude allowed marchers to camp at their facility. the city of st. jude hospital closed in 1985 and now st. jude's buildings are used for low income housing. the city of st. jude is listed on the national register of historic places.
u.s. general f. l. claiborne defeated creek native americans at the battle of holy ground in 1813. thirty three creeks and one u.s. solder were killed in the battle of holy ground. claiborne destroyed the holy ground creek village but chief red eagle weatherford escaped from the battle on horse back. the battle of holy ground was the last u.s. battle with the creeks in south alabama.
pictured is the old carnegie library located in downtown selma. the steel tycoon andrew carnegie built thousands of libraries all over the country in the early 20 th century. the carnegie library is one of a number of historic buildings in downtown selma.