John Lewis Talks About The Edmond Pettus Bridge
Tributes are being paid the the late great John Lewis, who fought for equality for many.
On A Sunday in March of 1965 known as bloody Sunday, John Lewis marched on the Selma bridge named after a KKK leader, Edmund Pettus.
Edmund was a Confederate general and a Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan, as well as a US senator.
Lewis was brutaly beaten by Police officials on the bridge in effort of standing up for voters rights.
John Lewis died On July 17, 2020, Lewis died at the age of 80 after a six-month battle with pancreatic cancer in Atlanta, Georgia.
The greatness of John Lewis’s fight inspired a call for renaming the Edmund Pettus bridge in John Lewis’s name.
Lewis spoke out about the call for action in 2015.
The Edmund Pettus Bridge symbolises both who we once were, and who we have become today… Renaming the bridge will never erase its history. Instead of hiding our history behind a new name we must embrace it – the good and the bad. The historical context of the Edmund Pettus Bridge makes the events of 1965 even more profound. The irony is that a bridge named after a man who inflamed racial hatred is now known worldwide as a symbol of equality and justice. It is Biblical – what was meant for evil, God uses for good.’
We can no more rename the Edmund Pettus Bridge than we can erase this nation’s history of racial intolerance and gender bias. Changing the name of the bridge would compromise the historical integrity of the voting-rights movement. We must tell our story fully rather than hide the chapters we wish did not exist, for without adversity there can be no redemption. Children should be taught the context of the events that unfolded on the bridge, and why its name is emblematic of the fight for the very soul of this nation – the democratic values of equality and justice.’
We must resist the temptation to revise history. The Edmund Pettus name represents the truth of the American story. You can change the name but you cannot change the facts of history. As Americans we need to learn the unvarnished truth about what happened in Selma. In the end, it is the lessons learned from our past that will instruct our future. We should never forget that ordinary people can collectively achieve social change through the discipline and philosophy of nonviolence.’
However, in 2019 John Lewis would find himself fighting for voters rights again. The law, was gutted in 2013 by the Supreme Court, and Lewis fought to restore it in Congress.
On December 6, 2019, Lewis banged a gavel on the House floor and heralded the approval of the Voting Rights Advancement Act to restore the protections of the landmark 1965 legislation.
Jess McIntosh spoke out about renaming the bridge as an oath and reformation of what America can stands for. McIntosh is a Democratic strategist and former communications adviser for Hillary Clinton.
As America fights for justice and eqaulity reformation by removing conservative flags and other representations of a corrupt nation, McIntosh feels as though “Renaming the bridge in Selma is one item on a list of long-overdue corrections that need to be made, but it won’t stop the disenfranchisement of Black Americans. It is the fight for voting rights that will help continue Lewis’ life work. He began inspiring us more than five decades ago, and his legacy isn’t just the bridge — it’s the march towards justice.”