Selma To Montgomery National Historic Trail

Overview

The climax to the decades-long voting rights crusade in Alabama erupted in March 1965 as Civil Rights activists converged on Selma, Alabama. Today, the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail commemorates the difficult fight of African American's for the right to vote.

The final push to achieve a nationwide solution to the disenfranchisement of African Americans came as the result of three strategically planned marches. Nearly 500 marchers proceeded through the streets of Selma and across the Edmund Pettus Bridge where they were faced by scores of Alabama State troopers. The troopers attacked the non-violent marchers, leaving many of them bloodied and severely injured, on a date forever ensconced in history as "Bloody Sunday". A second march ended in a prayer session at the point of Sunday's confrontation. Thousands of people, representing many races and nationalities, moved before the eyes of the world in demonstration to guarantee the right to vote. The five-day/four-night event covered a 54-mile route along state Highway 80 through chilling weather and rain. The result was the personal triumph of those who participated in the historic trek and the signing of the Voting Rights Act on August 6, 1965. Today, the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail stands as a testament to the sacrifices made in the triumph to preserve the right to vote as the bedrock of American democracy.

Map

Activities

Seasonality / Weather

The Lowndes County Interpretive Center is open daily 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CST. They are closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Years Day. The Trail is open year-round.

Depending on the season, temperatures can soar to extremes of heat and humidity in the summer and to a damp, wet cold in the winter. During the summer season visitors should dress in light, comfortable clothing, wear comfortable shoes and use sunscreen. High temperatures and high humidity create higher risk of heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heatstroke. During the fall visitors should have a light jacket available as temperatures can drop suddenly. Winter temperatures can be unpredictable, ranging from mild to extremely cold.

Directions

Driving: 

From Birmingham, AL follow I-65 south and take Exit 212 to Clanton. From Clanton take Hwy 145 to Hwy 22 and follow Hwy 22 for 45 minutes to Selma. From Atlanta, GA take I-85 south to Montgomery, AL. Merge onto I-65 south and get off on Exit 167 to Hwy 80 west. Continue for 43 miles to Selma.

The start of the trail is located at Brown Chapel, A.M.E. Church in Selma located on Martin Luther King, Jr. Street. Follow Trail markers to scenic Highway 80 through Lowndes County, AL. Continue on Hwy 80 to Montgomery terminating at the Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery located on Dexter Avenue.

Flying: 

Visitors may fly into the Montgomery Regional Airport. The airport is on the trail route. Exiting the airport, go east on Selma Highway/Hwy 80 to Selma, AL or west to Montgomery, AL.