Descendant of Edmund Pettus calling for Selma bridge to be renamed for ‘Bloody Sunday’

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Selma, Ala. (WIAT) — Support is growing to rename the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma to “The Bloody Sunday Bridge” and one descendant of the Alabama politician and Ku Klux Klan grand dragon is behind it.

David Pettus, the great-grand nephew of Edmund Pettus, is calling for the steel arch bridge to be renamed after tuning in to a virtual town hall meeting in Selma discussing the renaming of the bridge. The longstanding debate over the name has been growing in recent weeks since the passing of civil rights icon John Lewis.

Some have been calling for the bridge to be renamed after Lewis, although Pettus and others disagree.

“I don’t see much value in changing one name of a human being for another, I think what we should be doing is honor what happened there,” David Pettus said.

Pettus said changing the name to “The Bloody Sunday Bridge” shows that people can learn from past mistakes and educate future generations. However, such a change is not the sudden impulse for some who marched and shed their blood that Sunday.

Lynda Lowery, who was 14 years old in 1965 when she received 35 stitches on her head during the “Bloody Sunday” march, doesn’t want the bridge renamed for anyone.

“If it had not been for Confederate history, there would have been no need for Voting Rights or Civil Rights history,” Lowery said. “We changed the name that day.”

Lewis died on July 17 at the age of 80, more than five decades after he almost lost his life while crossing the bridge during “Bloody Sunday.”

In 2013, the Edmund Pettus Bridge was declared a National Historic Landmark. The final decision lies with lawmakers in Alabama and Gov. Kay Ivey.


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