Key Strengths

  • Selma once had flourishing economy and currently has a large historic district.
  • The city of Selma played a pivotal role in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. It is the site of some of the most famous and consequential acts of peaceful protest in American history.
  • Community leadership is strong, including local activist JoAnne Bland, a lifelong resident of Selma raised in the George Washington Carver Homes, who was a child foot soldier of the Civil Rights Movement and a participant in the historic march from Selma to Montgomery.

Key Challenges

  • Census data shows a population decline in Selma for at least the past ten years.
  • Many Selma residents are unable to find suitable employment and must travel to other areas for work, taking spending dollars out of the community.
  • 14% of Alabama households received food assistance via SNAP in 2019, compared to 30.5% in Dallas County, where Selma is located.
  • Racial divisions, lack of trust with formal leadership structures, and negative perceptions of other races are not uncommon.
  • 20.2% of Selma residents hold at least a Bachelor’s degree, in comparison to 26.2% of residents statewide.


  • Foot Soldiers Park and Education Center was created to honor the giants and unsung heroes and sheroes of the Civil Rights Movement who lived, fought and made history in Selma and to inspire, educate and nurture the next generation of social justice activists. In doing so, we aim to improve the well-being of the city’s underserved residents. The development of Foot Soldiers Park and Education Center will bring much-needed jobs and revenue to the city, instill civic pride and foster a connection between the city’s history and its young residents.
  • Office of Mayor James Perkins, Jr.


Historic photo of peaceful protesters during march from Selma to Montgomery. JoAnne Bland, Founder and COO of Foot Soldier Park, speaking to young people Foot Soldier Park Founding Partner & Executive Director Kimberly Smitherman welcomes guest at first anniversary celebration. Foot Soldiers who participated in the 1965 voting rights movement at FSP’s first anniversary celebration.