Representatives Cohen and Sewell and the Entire Alabama Congressional Delegation ask Governor Ivey to Rename Highway for the Late John Lewis

July 24, 2020
Press Release
Cohen and Sewell also introduce bill naming road from Montgomery to Selma the Voting Rights highway

WASHINGTON – Representatives Steve Cohen (TN-09), Chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, and Terri Sewell (AL-07) today led a letter from the entire Alabama Congressional Delegation and Washington’s Congressional delegate to Alabama Governor Kay Ivey, asking that U.S. Highway 80 be named the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Highway. Representatives Cohen and Sewell also introduced a bill Friday to name the highway “The John R. Lewis Voting Rights Highway.”

The highway leads to the historic Edmund Pettus Bridge on which Lewis and other voting rights advocates were beaten by police during a peaceful 1965 demonstration that has come to be known as “Bloody Sunday.” The event galvanized the country and led to passage of the Voting Rights Act later that year.

The letter reads in part:

“The sacrifices made by John Lewis in the 1965 Selma-to-Montgomery marches were essential to advancing civil rights to countless Americans. The heroism he demonstrated on Bloody Sunday in 1965 should not be forgotten and naming the highway in Congressman Lewis’ honor is essential to recognizing this history.”

See the entire letter here.

Portions of U.S. 80 are currently named after Civil Rights activists, including Amelia Platts Boynton-Robinson, Dr. Frederick D. Reese, Marie Foster, and John Hulett. Other sections are called the “International Voting Rights Trail” and the “Black Belt Nature and Heritage Trail.”