Selma Freedom Fighter fuels movement to rename Edmund Pettus Bridge

She's the little girl in that famous photo at the feet of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as he preached a fiery sermon in Alabama. At 7 years old Sheyann Webb-Christburg became known as the "smallest freedom fighter," marching from Selma to Montgomery and across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in March of 1965.

That day known as Bloody Sunday.

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"As we all know, many people died in that movement fighting for their freedom and many were brutally hurt," said Christburg.

But it wasn't just Dr. King who moved young Christburg. Then, 25 year-old activist John Lewis, led the 600 marchers, protesting after a black man was shot and killed by police trying to protect his mother. Lewis suffered a crippling blow to the head during the march.

That's when Christburg became special friends with Lewis. A friendship she said never wavered as she grew older. The two would meet back on the bridge every year.

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"I have never met a man that has the power of humility and the authenticity that he had that was so consistent," she added.

Consistent in his relationships and his fight for racial equality.

"He was a very special man and to see him with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as he was young, I was a little girl running in and out of their strategy meetings when they would come to Selma to strategize for marches," explained Christburg.

She's now fighting for her friend, among those calling for the Edmund Pettus bridge to be renamed after Congressman John Lewis who died last week.


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Christburg said this time of racial divide and unrest sparking protests across the country is a big reminder of why Lewis fought and why people should keep fighting peacefully.

"He was a man who constantly put his life on the line to fight for what was right, not for himself but for the betterment of this world for us to have a better place to live in," she said.

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