Selma is located in south-central Alabama on the banks of the Alabama River, providing access to the Port of Mobile and the Gulf of Mexico. During the antebellum years, Selma was one of the largest trading centers and market towns in the South. The city is best known for the Civil Rights march for voting rights that started in Selma and went to Montgomery, Alabama, in 1965.
That moment in U.S. history brought the Civil Rights movement into the national spotlight, paving the way for the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The Selma-Montgomery March ended with three events that marked one of the most important moments in the history of civil liberties in America. Together, these events led directly to the passage of the Voting Rights Act and became a landmark in the Civil Rights movement.
Selma's Old Town, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978, has a number of historic buildings, including Selma City Hall and the State Capitol. Selma colleges include Selma University and the George Corley Wallace State Community College.
Notable things to see and do in Selma include the National Voting Rights Museum, the Vaughan-Smitherman Museum, and Sturdivant Hall, among many others. The Voting Rights Museum opened in 1993 and has many exhibits, archives, and artifacts of the activities that participated in the events leading up to the 1965 march. It recognizes other people, events, and actions that furthered America's right to vote.
While the city and rural region of Selma has struggled with employment, the city is experiencing an influx of tourism due to its importance in the Civil Rights movement. The Selma-Dallas County Public Library is also a fun place to spend an afternoon. It features 25,000-square-feet of space and is located in downtown Selma.