- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 18, 2020

Calls to rename the Edmund Pettus Bridge civil-rights landmark in honor of late Rep. John Lewis have swelled following the Georgia Democrat’s death Friday at the age of 80.

Beatles co-founder Paul McCartney and former United Nations ambassador Samantha Power are among the people who took to Twitter on Saturday to propose naming the bridge for Lewis.

Online petitions created in support of the proposed name change, including some launched weeks before his death, received a spike in signatures over the weekend as well.

Mr. Lewis, a longtime civil rights activist, famously marched across the Pettus Bridge with fellow demonstrators during a 1965 protest that ended in them being viciously assaulted.

A flashpoint during the civil rights movement, the brutal attack was followed days later by the introduction of the Voting Rights Act, federal legislation to combat suppression of voting right of African Americans in the segregated South.

Spanning the Alabama River in the city of Selma, the bridge is currently named for Pettus, a former Confederate general, U.S. senator and Ku Klux Klan leader who died in 1907.

Mr. McCartney remembered Mr. Lewis as a “great leader who fought with honesty and bravery for civil rights in America” in a Twitter post where he endorsed renaming the bridge for him.

Ms. Power, the U.S. ambassador to the UN under former President Barack Obama, similarly encouraged her social media followers to sign a petition in support of the name change.

Two other separate but similar petitions hosted on the website Change.org had been digitally signed a combined total of close to 400,000 times since being created, meanwhile.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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