Have We Crossed the Bridge Yet?
|by Joseph A. Greenaway, Jr.|| 1 COLUM. J. RACE & L. 163 (2011)
Last test week, David Remnick’s book, The Bridge, was published. It is a book ostensibly about the life and rise of our President, Barack Obama. The Bridge is a reference to the bridge in Selma, Alabama where civil rights demonstrators were violently attacked by state troopers on March 7, 1965 on their way to Montgomery . . . Although deterred that day, the marchers, invoking the rule of law, eventually prevailed and were permitted to complete their historic march to Montgomery. That confrontation galvanized our nation and helped lead to the passage of the Voting Rights Act later that year.
. . . During the festivities relating to President Obama’s inauguration, when asked to comment on the historic significance of the impending inauguration, Congressman [John] Lewis commented that Barack Obama is what comes at the end of that Bridge in Selma.
It is a powerful, yet intriguing, metaphor that is susceptible to many interpretations. Is having an African American President reaching the promised land? Is he what we, as African Americans, have hoped for in our quest for freedom? Is President Obama the proverbial pot of gold at the end of the rainbow?