Today, on the third Monday of January, we take a holiday to observe the life and legacy of Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. It is a fitting coincidence that today StoryCorps Griot arrives at Tuskegee University from Selma, Alabama; we travel from the site of one of the fiercest battles in the long struggle for the right to be counted as equal citizens to an institution established to develop responsible citizens who would make remarkable contributions to American life.
The Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama was the site of one of the most significant protests in American history. The incident, known as “Bloody Sunday” emblazoned the Edmund Pettus Bridge as an indelible image of violent American oppression. Bloody Sunday sparked national attention on racial discrimination in voting, eventually leading to the passage of the National Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Last week StoryCorps Griot facilitators set out on historic US Route 80 traveling from Montgomery to Selma, Alabama. Along the way we stopped for two days at the Lowndes County Interpretive Center to set-up a space for Lowndes County residents to share their stories. The Interpretive Center opened in 2006 as the first of three sites established by the National Park Service (NPS) to commemorate, preserve and interpret the events, people, and route of the Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights March of 1965. As stipulated in its mission, the purpose of this Historic Trail is to serve “as a reminder of the right and responsibility of all Americans to participate fully in the election process and the maintenance of vigilance in protecting the right to vote.”