Selma-to-Montgomery march camps top list of endangered sites
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — The landmark voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965 didn't happen in just one day: Participants spent four nights camping along the roughly 55-mile (89-kilometer) route through Alabama, sleeping in tents and near farm buildings under the watch of guards to prevent white supremacist attacks.
Now threatened by decades of weather and wear, the campsites used by those marchers are among the nation's most endangered historic places, according to a new assessment by a preservation group. The sites, along with 10 other locations in nine states, need immediate attention or risk being lost, according to the nonprofit National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Three of the campsites are privately owned, rural acreage along U.S. 80, which links Selma and the capital city, and the fourth is the City of St. Jude, a Roman Catholic complex where marchers spent the night before thousands followed the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to the Alabama Capitol on March 25, 1965, to demonstrate for voting rights for Black people.
The march route looks different today than it did 56 years ago — what was then a two-lane road is now four lanes, with added traffic and new construction. While leaving the details of preservation to families that own the camp land and local officials, the trust is shedding light on the sites and others at a time when voting rights and racial justice are again a national issue.
"These 11 places celebrate the interconnection of American culture and acknowledge it as a multicultural fabric that, when pieced together, reveals our true identity as a people,” said Paul Edmondson, president of the Washington-based organization, which releases a list of endangered places annually. Other places on the 2021 list include:
- Trujillo Adobe, the remains of an early Latino settlement dating...