Some say renaming the Edmund Pettus Bridge for the Georgia congressman who died Friday would dishonor local activists who spent years advocating for civil rights before Lewis arrived in town in the 1960s. Others fear tourism would be hurt if the Pettus name — which is known worldwide yet belonged to a white supremacist — were gone…
“There were many Selmians and Alabamians who were either on the bridge in March 1965, near the vicinity or precipitated the situation that changed this country for the better. John was not the only one,” Chestnut said in a statement to The Associated Press on Monday.
Mayor Darrio Melton called it “insulting” that the wishes of Selma residents haven’t been taken more into account during discussions about the bridge name dating back at least five years. And focusing on a name rather than ways to solve racial and economic inequality disrespects Lewis’ legacy, he said.
“Everybody is talking about changing the name of the bridge, but they’re not talking about investing in Selma,” Melton said. “To me it’s more about the system than it is the symbol.”