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John Lewis’ death inspires call for Edmund Pettus Bridge to be renamed

U.S. Congressman John Lewis (Photo credit: Steed Media)

Following the death of civil rights icon and U.S. Congressman John Lewis, many are calling for a historic landmark to be renamed in his honor.

On Friday, July 17, 2020, Lewis, who represented Georgia’s 5th Congressional District for more than three decades in the U.S. House of Representatives, died after being in hospice care in Atlanta. He was 80.

In March 1965, a then-25-year-old Lewis spearheaded a peaceful march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama.  It became known as “Bloody Sunday,” as Lewis and other marchers were brutally beaten by White state troopers while attempting to cross the bridge.

Edmund Pettus was a known racist who served as a member of the Confederate Army and as a Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan. His racist legacy continued after his death in 1907 as Selma continues to suffer racial inequality today.

In 2015, President Barack Obama joined Lewis in Selma to pay homage to those who fought oppression on “Bloody Sunday.”

People now want the bridge to be renamed after Lewis. Read some of their responses below.