Tens of thousands of tourists visit Selma, Alabama, on the first full weekend of every March (this year from March 4 to 8) for the Bridge Crossing Jubilee which commemorates “Bloody Sunday", the March from Selma-to-Montgomery, and the passing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Close on its heels, from March 19 to 21, comes the Historic Selma Pilgrimage & Antique Show.
Visitors to Selma, on a bluff high above the rolling waters of the mighty Alabama River, discover hundreds of years of rich history. Here, just 45 minutes west of Montgomery, you’ll find the largest historic district in Alabama – with over 1,200 historic structures, including palatial Antebellum and Victorian homes and museums. Century-old buildings that warehoused King Cotton and Civil War munitions are now home to delightful specialty shops, cafes and offices. Also visit landmark sites of the nation’s Voting Rights Movement and the site of the Civil War’s Battle of Selma.
From its earliest days, Selma has made history. During the Civil War, it was one of the South’s main military manufacturing centers, producing tons of supplies and munitions and turning out Confederate warships such as the ironclad Tennessee.
Union General J.H. Wilson’s troops destroyed Selma’s Confederate arsenal, factories and much of the city, in a fiery bloody siege. To see Selma’s manufactured munitions and war relics, visit Vaughan-Smitherman Museum and the Old Depot Museum. Tour gracious Antebellum Sturdivant Hall, a Greek Revival mansion designed by the cousin of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Browse for antiques in restored downtown riverfront warehouses and discover handmade treasures and other specialty items in Victorian Cottage shops.
Dine in one of Selma’s fine restaurants, where ample helpings of Southern cuisine and hospitality are specialties. Cross the famous Edmund Pettus Bridge and remember the courage of the thousands who overcame violence and hardship on their 1965 Selma-to-Montgomery March for voting rights.
Take the Martin Luther King, Jr. Street Walking tour and visit Brown Chapel A.M.E. church, where Dr. King launched the Voting Rights Movement, and where the names of those who died for the dream are inscribed in stone. Exhibits honoring voting rights efforts can be found in the National Voting Rights Museum and the Old Depot museum.
Adventurers will enjoy exploring Old Live Oak Cemetery, a National Register landmark, for the graves of William Rufus King; Benjamin S. Turner, the Selma ex-slave who became the first African American U.S. Congressman; and Martha Todd White and Elodie Todd Dawson, half-sisters of Mary Todd Lincoln. Visit the ghostly remains of Alabama’s first permanent capital, Cahawba. Located outside of Selma, this fascinating former trading port offers ruins to explore and period artifacts to see.
For more information about top events in Alabama, take a look at the Top Events USA selection of the annual main festivals and events in Alabama at www.topeventsusa.com/state-events-alabama.html
Or, take a look at the official web site for Selma at www.selmaalabama.com