(Courtesy photo/Alabama State Gov.)

The death of Rep. John Lewis has renewed calls to rename the Confederacy-related Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., in the civil rights leader’s honor.
The bridge’s namesake, Edmund Pettus, was a Confederate general and leader of the Ku Klux Klan in Alabama, who had a habit of getting caught by the Union and ended his service with what is suspected to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the leg.
At age 25, Lewis helped lead the 1965 march for voting rights on the Edmund Pettus Bridge on a day that became known as “Bloody Sunday,” and which galvanized support for the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
D.C. resident Michael Starr Hopkins, 33, who launched a petition for the name change on June 17 in hopes the bridge would be renamed while Lewis was still alive, said that as of Monday afternoon the petition on Change.org had more than 490,000 signatures.
“If it was left to Edmund Pettus, people who look like me would still be in shackles,” Hopkins told CNN. “The idea that we would honor him by allowing his name on the bridge is antithetical for everything this country stands for, especially when we have so many heroes like John Lewis who dedicated their entire lives to bringing the country together.”

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