Rep. John Lewis during a recent interview with The Bitter Southerner podcast.

Rep. John Lewis during a recent interview with The Bitter Southerner podcast.

An online petition is calling for the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, to be renamed for Atlanta Congressman John Lewis, according to

The 79-year-old Democrat, who was born in Troy, Alabama, was among those beaten at the bridge in Selma while marching for voting rights in 1965.

Currently, the bridge bears the name of former confederate general, U.S. Senator and eventual grand-dragon of the KKK Edmund Pettus.

The petition to rename bridge is about 500 names short of its 5,000 signature goal, according to


U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, who is from Selma, said in a statement that she believes the renaming movement is counterproductive and that all efforts should be focused on restoring the provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. ​ Her statement:

“My friend and mentor, Congressman John Lewis, deserves all the praise and recognition for being the beloved civil rights leader that he is. While I understand and respect the movement to rename the bridge in Selma in his honor, I also believe it to be counterproductive. While a magnanimous gesture, such a symbolic effort, at this moment, when John is in the fight of his life, is not what he needs. I urge us all to band together in support of his recovery. The best way we can honor John is by rededicating ourselves to restoring the full protections of the VRA (Voting Rights Act) of 1965 and fighting to get H.R. 4, the Voting Rights Advancement Act, signed into law. Renaming the bridge in Selma is thoughtfully symbolic, but passing a law that protects the rights of all Americans to vote is the ultimate action that furthers the legacy of Congressman John Lewis.”