One of the many salutary after-effects of Ava DuVernay’s Selma has been renewed interest in that city’s Edmund Pettus Bridge, site of a violent confrontation between people marching for civil rights and Alabama state police half a century ago. Closing his Last Word program on Tuesday night, MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell movingly argued that the bridge, named for a decorated Confederate Army general and later Grand Dragon of the Alabama Ku Klux Klan, should be renamed for Georgia Congressman and humanitarian activist John Lewis, who suffered a fractured skull while marching with Martin Luther King Jr. that day.
“It is long past time to change the name of the Edmund Pettus Bridge,” O’Donnell said, noting that more than 166,000 signatures already had been gathered on a Change.org petition. “The bridge American heroes like John Lewis and Martin Luther King marched over was named for an American disgrace,” O’Donnell said. “Let’s rename it for an American hero.”
No one hollered or cracked wise during the four-minute segment. It was simple, elegant, powerful TV.