Selma To Montgomery National Historic Trail is a National Historic Trail in Alabama, which commemorates the 1965 marches for the Voting Rights Act.

Map of Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail

Understand edit

The Selma to Montgomery March, from March 21 to 25, 1965, was led by Martin Luther King Jr. This march was the culmination of several weeks of activity, during which demonstrators had tried to march on two occasions. They were stopped on both occasions, once violently, by the police. Approximately 25,000 people joined the March and it became a landmark event in the Civil Rights Movement, leading directly to the passing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

In 1996, the route was designated as a National Historic Trail in an act proposed by President Bill Clinton and passed by Congress.

Driving is the recommended option for following the route. There is no designated safe path for pedestrians, and the highway is busy with trucks passing regularly at high speed. It is possible to follow the route by bicycle, and this was done to commemorate the anniversaries of the original march in 2015 and 2020.

Prepare edit

Get in edit

Take Alabama state route 5 or route 14 to get to Marion.

Drive edit

Historic Trail map

The Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail is the shortest of the National Historic Trails at 54 mi (87 km).

The National Historic Trail starts at the Mount Zion AME Zion Church in Marion. Route signs lead the way from Marion to Selma, where there is an interpretative center for the trail. After visiting the center, continue to the 1 Edmund Pettus Bridge, site of the Bloody Sunday incident. Then follow U.S. Route 80 to White Hall, where the Lownes Interpretative Center is based. Continue following US Highway 80 until it reaches the state capital, Montgomery. The endpoint is the 2 Alabama State Capitol.

Markers along the route point out the places where marchers camped, as well as other historic moments from the March, such as the murder of Viola Liuzzo or the place in St Jude's historic district where musicians Harry Belafonte, Tony Bennett, and Peter, Paul & Mary performed for the marchers.

Road sign on U.S. Route 80 marking the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail

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Go next edit

For more civil rights movement historic sites in Alabama, head to Birmingham or Anniston. See also the Black Belt.

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