SPECIAL REPORT: Dream March Celebration - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

SPECIAL REPORT: Dream March Celebration


2015 will be a big year for the cities of Montgomery and Selma. It's the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, and the 60th anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

Montgomery has big plans to remember those two historic events. It includes transforming the trail that brought marchers to the Alabama Capitol in 1965. Plus, we're learning more about the city's vision for the future of an iconic street that helped spark the civil rights movement.

Sheyanne Webb Christburg was eight years old when she marched across the Edmund Petus Bridge on Bloody Sunday.

"As we were making our way marching closer, we got into downtown, which is Broad Street in Selma. We could see people on the sidelines throwing things at marchers and saying names," Christburg said.

Her story is one of many that will be told and retold when some of those marchers return to Selma and recreate the march to Montgomery for the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday.

"I think people should understand that history and the significance of that history," Christburg said.

The City of Montgomery is already making plans to commemorate that history, which includes making improvements to the trail.

"We're going to spend the next year working on infrastructure pieces so we can be proud of the trail from St. Jude up to the capitol," Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange said.

A little over $1 million will be spent on things like new signage, trees, flowers and sidewalks. New art with graphic images of marchers will also cover some vacant buildings. The project will use a mix of city, state and federal dollars.

The city will culminate a week of activities with a big concert and fireworks. The Acadome at Alabama State is a possible venue.

"We want this to be a celebratory time frame to really memorialize and commemorate the great that happened and let the world see Montgomery was the birthplace of civil rights," Strange said.

The trail from the city of St. Jude to the Alabama Capitol won't be the only area to take shape. 2015 will also be the 60th anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, a lot of which took place along Dexter Avenue.

Much of the work along Dexter is already underway. It's a $5.5 million project that includes new sidewalks, trees and preserving old buildings. The mayor also wants to recreate some of the old bus stops along the street.

Trenholm State Archivist Gwen Patton was a child during the bus boycott. Ten years later she helped organize marchers heading to Montgomery from Selma. She hopes this anniversary is dedicated to the next generation of leaders.

"We have to make this a living history that if Montgomery is not only going to lift itself up, we can be a transformational community and love our history," Patton said.

Montgomery city leaders shared the same thought. Both events will likely fall under one theme – "The Dream March is On." It's a look back at Montgomery's history that set the tone for a nation, a nation that will be watching the south once again.

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