Selma is a city in Alabama. Selma has the distinction of being a notable place in the pages of history, for its role in the Civil War and doubly-so for its role in the Civil Rights Movement. Though a bit forgotten and depressed today, during the Confederacy it was second only to Richmond in providing critical munitions from an armory, and thus was a target of Union forces, which, through stealth and sacrifice, took the city in the final month of the Civil War, and set General Nathan Bedford Forrest on the run, though this guy managed to live to a ripe old age anyway. This was known as the Battle of Selma.
White segregationists weren't about to have equal rights and treatment after the Civil War dust had settled though, and they put a stranglehold on any such idea in Selma with an unduly heavy hand. Poll taxes and literacy tests were the rule of the day, not to mention extrajudicial hangings of African Americans for alleged crimes. After too many years of this, a movement inspired by courageous black leaders and groups such as the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) rose up to contend against these proceedings, with marches and protests that often resulted in clubbings and arrests. This became crystallized in a march from Selma to Montgomery to bring attention to civil rights, with the first attempt cut down on the Edmund Pettus Bridge outside of Selma in a day later regarded as Bloody Sunday, that was revived in a second and third attempt with the likes of Martin Luther King Jr and John Lewis, which brought nationwide recognition to secure passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Get in edit
By car edit
From Montgomery US-80 W/Alabama 8/Selma Hwy toward Selma.
Get around edit
- 1 Edmund Pettus Bridge. The Edmund Winston Pettus Bridge was the scene of the Selma to Montgomery March in 1965. The demonstrations that occurred here led to the U.S. Voting Rights Act of 1965. The bridge was erected in 1939 and named after U.S. Senator Edmund Winston Pettus.
- 2 National Voting Rights Museum and Institute, 6 US Hwy. 80 East (Foot of the Edmund Pettus bridge), ☏ . M-Th 10AM-4PM; F-Su : by appointment only.
- 3 Brown Chapel AME Church, 410 Martin Luther King St, ☏ . This house of worship is a historical site of essentially where the Voter Registration Act began with such visionaries as Reverend Ralph Abernathy, statesman John Lewis, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr meeting to start the grassroots campaign, and where the latter spoke on the topic of redress, in defiance of the authorities. The church is in a bit of a rough neighborhood, so use common sense.
- 4 Slavery & Civil War Museum, 1410 Water Ave, ☏ . M-Sa 10AM-5PM (Sundays and off hours, call to schedule).
- 5 Old Cahawba Archaeological Park, 9518 Cahaba Rd, Orrville, AL, ☏ . Th-M 10am-5pm, closed Tu and W. Discover here the original capital of the Cotton State, from 1819-1826, beside the muddy Alabama River. Very rustic, like Alabama's very own ghost town.
- 6 Sturdivant Hall Museum, 713 Mabry St, ☏ . Tu-Sa 10am-4pm, closed Su-M. A Greek Revival mansion of outstanding quality built in 1856, if you're wanting to explore an antebellum era property.
- 7 Vaughan Smitherman Museum, 109 Union St, ☏ . Tu-Sa 9am-4pm. Another antebellum-type home.
- Tally-Ho Restaurant, 509 Mangum Ave, ☏ . M-Th 5-9PM, F Sa 5-10PM.
- 1 St. James Hotel Selma, Tapestry Collection by Hilton, 1200 Water Ave, ☏ . An authentic choice, with wraparound decks and views of the Edmund Pettus Bridge, and restaurant with paid breakfast available. $58.
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- Black Belt, the African-American heartland
|Routes through Selma|
|Meridian ← Demopolis ←||W E||→ Montgomery → Columbus|