Edmund Pettus Descendant Of Edmund Pettus: Rename The Bridge And Then ‘We Get To Work’ | The Last Word | MSNBC
You know i only ever wanted to use edmund pettus’s name to shine a light on what i hope this country can look like moving forward. So what i would say is what you need to know about edmund pettus is that he committed heinous acts, crimes against humanity before the war and after the war um – and you know his titles – you know the things that he represented. You know the things that he held up and so to me, this moment is about finding a way to rename that bridge after the man who put that bridge on the right side of history by being willing to risk his life risk, his body and blood marching Across it for that most precious and important of american rights, the right to vote, the right to enfranchise, all americans. So to me, i think the biggest picture lawrence is to acknowledge the fact that renaming the bridge is a start, and actually my concern is that it just becomes a ceremonial gesture, because when you have people that are dragging their feet, finally do the right thing. I think they get pleased with themselves sometimes but renaming. The bridge is the beginning of the journey towards affecting the change that john lewis marched for it’s, not the end of the journey, because i think about two years before he marched in 1963.
When dr king got up in front of that massive crowd in washington and he said that america had defaulted on her promissory note where her black citizens were concerned, and then john lewis got up on that same podium in front of that same crowd, and he said We do not want our freedom gradually, we want our freedom.
Now we are tired of being beaten by the police. We are tired of watching our people thrown into jail over and over again, and i think about that – and i think about how two years later john lewis is getting his skull. Cracked across the edmund pettus bridge and america had defaulted on its promissory note for two more years after dr king made that speech after john lewis made his speech, and now here we set 55 years after they marched across the edmund pettus bridge and john, and the Voting rights act is languishing, it is the act itself is disenfranchised of some of its efficacy. I think what we do is we rename the bridge, and then we get to work. We get to work, you know, fix restoring the voting rights act and honoring john lewis. By using that unique power of american citizenship that unique joy of american citizenship of our right to vote to get this country back on the right track in november uh, there is a movement in washington now in the congress to rename that bill. The the the pending version of the voting rights act as the john lewis of voting rights act, which uh could be uh, ultimately the more important monument.
If that could be enshrined in law again, it would be the more important monument absolutely it would be. It would be um a real triumph. I think it would be a real way to make sure that his legacy his legacy of getting into good trouble necessary trouble had paid off more in full carolina.
I have to ask you: do you know uh any of the white descendants of edmund pettus any of those members of your family uh that live on the other side of the color line? I think no is a strong word. I’Ve actually been warmly reached out to by some, and that is an uplifting and complicated and exciting new chapter in this american narrative.