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National Voting Rights Museum and Institute (Selma, AL)

Joseph Harris

            The National Voting Rights Museum and Institute can be found in Selma, Alabama in their new location across The Edmund Pettus Bridge. This museum was a self-guided tour through the building with multiple exhibits on various things. The first area that you walk up to is a wall that tells you about what the area was like in 1965 when Martin Luther King Jr. led the famous march. On the wall are multiple pictures of the booming city at the time, with their old and unique buildings. The wall that I found most closely related to what we are learning in American history is the one that talks about what Selma was like during the Civil War.

During the American Civil War, Selma was one of the most important cities to the Confederacy because of its manufacturing abilities in which they produced a variety of supplies for the soldiers. Selma was also a place where they made plating for the ironclad warships; one of the famous being the “Tennessee”. Not long after being established as a city, Selma became one of the most powerful towns in Alabama when it came to politics, trade, and a rapidly growing population. Despite what all it grew to offer, the city of Selma fell to the Union forces on April 2, 1865 as the result of a short battle. Other exhibits in the museum were memorabilia of famous people who had lived in the city, an exhibit on Barack Obama, and a very large timeline that showed their city’s history. I also found it very intriguing that the museum itself is not funded by the state, but instead a wealthy African American woman who wanted the heritage and museum to live on in the small town.