President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama will meet hundreds of others in Selma, Alabama on Saturday. It will mark the 50th anniversary of the civil rights march that ended tragically and became known as “Bloody Sunday.” In 1965, civil rights activists gathered peacefully to protest at the foot of the Edmund Pettus bridge in Selma which leads to Montgomery. Protesters were met by police who beat them with canes and whips.
The bloody demonstration was recreated for the film Selma. The bridge is still named after the Alabama Ku Klux Klan leader Edmund Pettus, who was a Grand Dragon in the Klan. A student-led organization called Students UNITE in Selma, Alabama, has started a petition to rename the bridge, with its complex legacy. They’ve petitioned the mayor, the Alabama governor, and the National Park Service. Could Obama change the name of the bridge under his executive authority?