Endangered African American Historic Sites

Selma church known for 'Bloody Sunday' tops endangered places list : NPR

Like religious congregants all over, the people of historic Brown Chapel AME Church turned off the lights and locked the doors at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic because it wasn't safe to gather for worship with a deadly virus circulating. For a time, the landmark church that launched a national voting rights movement in Selma, Alabama, was off limits.

What members found when they returned was heartbreaking: Termites had eaten so much wood that parts of the structure weren't stable anymore, said member Juanda Maxwell, and water leaks damaged walls. Mold was growing in parts of the building, where hundreds met before Alabama state troopers attacked voting rights demonstrators on Bloody Sunday in 1965 at the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

"It's in horrible shape," said Maxwell. "It's a tough time. Because we were closed for a year it exacerbated the problem with water coming in."

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