Images of the peaceful protesters, including Lewis, beaten by the police circulated widely in the days and weeks following the events and still reverberate.
Lewis, who later served in the House for more than three decades, had returned to the bridge annually to reenact the march with fellow lawmakers and community leaders.
Clyburn, the whip of the majority of the house and senior member of the Congressional Black Caucus, calls on the long-term efforts to rename the bridge. His namesake Pettus was a Southern Brigadier General and a U.S. Senator before becoming the great dragon of the Alabama Ku Klux Klan.
The renewed pressure comes as the debate on monuments to the Confederacy intensifies following the nationwide protests against systemic racism and police brutality.
“I think they’ll take a nice picture of that bridge with the name of Pettus on it, put it somewhere in a museum, dedicate it to the Confederacy, then rename that bridge and paint it again – again furnishing – the John R. Lewis Bridge, ‘added Clyburn. “I think that will give the people of Selma something to gather.”