Selma celebrates opening of Interpretive Center

Posted by: Melissa McKinney - bio | email

SELMA, AL (WSFA) - On the heels of black history month and just before thousands arrive in Selma for the Bridge Crossing Jubilee, comes the newest addition to downtown.

"This is where it all began...the civil rights movement and the trail," says Selma Mayor, George Evans.

Inside the three story building visitors will learn about the origins of the civil rights movement.

"What happened to Jimmy Lee Jackson, what is the significance of the bridge, what happened to the spirit of the people that were here so that they decided to even have a march in the first place?" says Sandy Taylor with the National Park Service.

"As people begin to come and visit the interpretive center they will understand what occurred here," says Selma resident, Joselyn Reddick.

For Reddick's daughter and a friend, their first glimpse inside the building is just like being in the classroom.

"A lot of people need to know their history. And this is a very historical city," says Jayda Armstrong.

The interpretive center's location is strategic.  It's yards away from the famous Edmund Pettus Bridge--the site where the struggle for civil rights began more than 45 years ago.

"Anytime we come to this center and we can look out the window and see that bridge, it reminds us of the kind of commitment that many people made," says Dr. Frederick Reese, who walked across the bridge in 1965.

The interpretive center is far from complete.

Mayor Evans says it's a $35-million dollar project that will eventually have a theater and even a dance studio--designed so members of a younger generation can have a clearer picture of who went before them.

Volunteers and directors will celebrate a grand opening in the coming months. If you'd like to volunteer at the new Selma location, call the Lowndes County Interpretive Center to sign up at(334) 877-1984.

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