By LeRoy Ford
Today we visited the city of Selma, Alabama. For me, the drive into Selma was a little depressing because everything looked so run-down and tattered. As we were driving in, I wondered why this area was so neglected. These thoughts continued to bring me down because I felt like something needed to be done. Then I began to think about the history of the city and all of the fighting that took place there to win us the rights we have today. Thinking about this put things into perspective as to why it looked the way it did. Selma may be a poor city, but it is rich with history to be shared.
When we first arrived in Selma, we drove over the Edmund Pettus Bridge to enter into the city. Driving over this historical bridge gave me a feeling that is almost impossible to explain. I couldn’t help but think back to the brutality that happened on that bridge in 1965. However, the bridge wasn’t our first stop. We went to the historic Brown Chapel A.M.E Church. Sitting in the pews, I tried to envision myself sitting in those same pews fifty years ago, participating in the march for voting rights. Being in the building in which so much history took place made me feel blessed and very thankful for those who fought so hard for me to have the freedoms I have today.
After our visit to the church, we returned to the Edmund Pettus Bridge, but this time we walked over it, just as they did in the 1965 march for voting rights. We exited the bus and walked over, two-by-two and silently. Silence has never had so much power as it did in that moment. As we walked, I thought back to the courageous people walking in 1965. I thought about the fear that I’m sure they had inside of them, knowing what was waiting on the other side. I began to smile to myself, knowing that because of those brave souls, I could now walk this bridge and be assured that brutality wouldn’t be waiting for me on the other side. As we reached the other end of the bridge where they were met with brutality in 1965, I felt like I could rejoice. I realized that I just took the most meaningful walk in my life and that I will never forget. I took a walk through history.