Rocket City to Queen City: Traveling to Selma for 50th Anniversary

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Between the Selma film and personal connections and senses of responsibility, many people are packing up to travel to Selma for the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday.

Many groups and families right here in the Tennessee Valley are on that list.

"We went and saw the movie, and I said this is something that I have to do," said Dr. Tammy Alexander of Huntsville.

"I wish I couldn't been there back then to experience that," said Shelley Jones, who is roadtripping alongside her husband and their Corvette club.

"I don't think it's necessarily a black thing," Jones continued. "Just to see everyone come together, black, white, whatever. I think it's whoever wants to go and just walk that bridge."

The opportunity to see where African Americans sacrificed for equal rights resonates with many.

"When I turned 18, in fact when all of my brothers turned 18, the first thing we had to do was to go to the corner store and register to vote," said Alexander, who plans to share her experiences with the children she works with in her ministry.

"We’ve always lived in this world and we didn’t know the struggle," she continued. "We take too much for granted, so this is an opportunity to see what it was like."

"We've got a long way to go, but we've come a long way," said Jones.

Events will be held around the city, including at some Selma schools. Many downtown streets will be closed for events. The Edmund Pettus Bridge will be closed to traffic early Saturday and Sunday mornings.

Selma leaders worked with the city's law enforcement to develop traffic plans. If you're traveling with grandparents or foot soldiers there to witness history again, shuttles are said to be taking visitors to and from designated parking lots to the downtown area.

Selma police say all uniformed officers will be working alongside a number of other agencies including Montgomery and Dallas County Sheriff's deputies.

Officers discourage big bags, coolers, chairs, or any other large items that could become a crowd obstruction.

Despite the weather and guaranteed crowds and traffic, Huntsville residents are eager.

"I think what will make it all worth it is being able to say 'I was there,'" said Alexander.

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