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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
the edmund pettus bridge was named after edmund winston pettus who was a confederate civil war general and later an alabama u.s. senator. the edmund pettus bridge became world famous on march 7 1965 as the scene of the "bloody sunday" confrontation between civil rights marchers and police during the 1960's civil rights movement.
the cecil b. jackson public safety building was originally the old selma city hall and jail. today the cecil b. jackson building is used for the city of selma's municipal court. martin luther king was arrested in selma and was an inmate in the old selma jail.
after the "bloody sunday" incident on march 7th martin luther king called for a "symbolic" march to the edmund pettus bridge on march 9 th. federal district judge frank m. johnson had issued a injunction against the protest march and king and his protesters marched over the bridge said a short prayer and returned to downtown selma. later that night a group of local whites attacked unitarian minister james reeb who was a participant in the march. reeb was refused admission to selma's hospital and was sent to university hospital in birmingham. reeb died as a result of his beating two days later.
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 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.
viola liuzzo was a detroit michigan house wife that was horrified by the images of the aborted march 7 th selma to montgomery civil rights march. she told her husband anthony liuzzo, a teamsters official, that "this was everybody's fight" and that she was driving to selma. the evening after the third march to montgomery liuzzo and leroy moton drove groups of protesters back to selma from montgomery. after two trips to selma liuzzo and moton were returning to montgomery when they were spotted by car with four klansmen. liuzzo and moton were chased 20 miles from selma into lowndes county. the car with the kansmen pulled along side liuzzo's car and shot her twice in the head. moton survived the attack and later ran for help from liuzzo's wreaked car. because there was an FBI informant in the klan car the klansmen were quickly arrested. one klansman died of a heart attack before his trial and two other klansmen were convicted and given short prison sentences. the liuzzo murder contributed to the quick passage of the 1965 voting rights act.
though most visitors to selma come to take the civil rights tour. downtown selma has a very interesting historic district that is worth exploring for those interested in history and architecture. pictured is the selma first baptist church located in the selma historic district. the selma first baptist church was established in 1885. the first baptist church is one of several beautiful churches in downtown selma.
the church street united methodist church was established in 1835. the church that you see today was built in 1901. the united methodist church is one of serveral beautiful churches in downtown selma.
st. paul's is a historic church located in the selma historic district. the original st. paul's episcopal church was built in 1838. union general james h. wilson's troops burned down the church during the battle of selma in 1865. the beautiful gothic revival church you see today was built in 1875. st. paul's has an excellent collection of tiffany stained glass windows. st. paul's episcopal church is listed on the national register of historic places.