On Friday, July 17th, Civil Rights organizer and American hero Rep. John Lewis died of pancreatic cancer. Now Paul McCartney has called for the Edmund Pettus Bridge to be renamed the John Lewis Bridge, saying “Long may his memory remain in our hearts.”
The Pettus Bridge wasn’t chosen at random. In 1965, it hosted one of the more shameful events in US history. A 25-year-old Lewis led a peaceful voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, when police trapped protestors on the bridge. One cop assaulted Lewis with his baton, fracturing his skull. Lewis went on to serve in Congress for over three decades, and as he often said, “I gave a little blood on that bridge in Selma… I’m not asking any of you to give any blood. I’m just asking you to go and vote.”
In response to his death at the age of 80, Sir Paul McCartney took to Twitter to honor his life and legacy. Macca wrote,
“Sad to hear the news that civil rights legend John Lewis died yesterday. He was such a great leader who fought with honesty and bravery for civil rights in America. Long may his memory remain in our hearts. How about renaming the famous Pettus Bridge that he and Martin Luther King Jr. and others walked across in the 60s for the civil rights movement and rename it the John Lewis Bridge?!!! Nancy and I are proud to support the NAACP and have recently donated to their legal defense fund.”
The bridge is currently named after Edmund Pettis, a Confederate officer and grand dragon in the Ku Klux Klan. So yes, as far as bridge names go, there is certainly room for improvement.
Earlier this month, McCartney played a charity benefit for Ringo Starr’s 80th birthday, with proceeds going to Black Lives Matter, MusiCares, the David Lynch Foundation, and WaterAid. Macca celebrated his own birthday by encouraging his fans to give up eating meat, and he called on schools to stop serving meat-only lunches. He recently announced a collector’s edition of his solo album Flaming Pie, and participated in the Preservation Hall livestream benefit concert.
…that he and Martin Luther King Jr. and others walked across in the 60s for the civil rights movement and rename it the John Lewis Bridge?!!! Nancy and I are proud to support the NAACP and have recently donated to their legal defense fund.
— Paul McCartney (@PaulMcCartney) July 18, 2020