The chinaberry bushes in front of Brown Chapel Church are gone, replaced by a monument to Martin Luther King Jr. The Albert Hotel, integrated by King in 1965, has been torn down too, replaced by a new City Hall.
Older blacks here remember those days with startling clarity, but for their grandchildren and millions more it is a memory they never had.
In Selma 20 years ago, Americans could be turned away with cattle prods and nightsticks for trying to register to vote.
The Rev. Frederick D. Reese, who headed the Dallas County Voters League, remembers it. So does the Rev. J.D. Hunter, who came here from Tuskegee in the 1950s to head the Selma branch of the NAACP.
Hunter, whose goal was to get more blacks on Dallas County juries, built the NAACP's membership from five to 1,500 before it was driven underground.
He said then-Gov. John Patterson decided that the NAACP was "creating unrest and confusion," and a state court ordered the group "not to hold any more meetings and not to solicit any more members."
The injunction, Hunter recalled, was handed to him by Dallas County Sheriff Jim Clark, who is now selling mobile homes in Scottsboro.
Group members reemerged as the Dallas County Voters League, led by Reese. By July 1964, when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act ordering an end to segregation in public accommodations, court orders had caught up with the Voters League, too.
"We were under a circuit court injunction against congregating on the streets in groups of five or more," Reese said. "That put a chill on things."
In the South that summer, the Ku Klux Klan began riding high. In Mississippi, there were murders and church burnings. In St. Augustine, Fla., King led wade-ins at the public beach, and circuit-riding segregationists such as Connie Lynch, who insisted that heaven was made for whites only, responded with nightly rallies in the Old Slave Market.
In Georgia, a restaurant owner named Lester Maddox defied the public accommodations law at his Pickrick Restaurant and refused to serve three blacks while scores of white spectators cheered him on.Here in west Alabama, blacks weren't thinking even of the fare at the Selma Del delicatessen on Broad Street.
Voting was their issue and in December 1964, Reese and some other determined colleagues signed an official invitation, hoping that that surefire troublemaker Dr. King would come to town and stir things up.
He did and registered at the Albert, where a member of the National States Rights Party kicked him in the groin as he stood in the lobby. The next day, King integrated the Selma Del.
The demonstrations began in earnest then. One day that January, Clark's deputies arrested more than 150 blacks for insisting on using the front door of the courthouse. On another, Reese led a contingent of black schoolteachers, who held the most prestigious jobs to which blacks could aspire in those days, and sought entrance. Clark shoved Reese down the steps and told him the courthouse was closed.
When Reese persisted, the chairman of the School Board came out and told the minister-schoolteacher to go away.
"I have my rights," Reese responded. But the sheriff refused to budge, and Reese finally led his contingent away.
Weeks of similar showdowns preceded "Bloody Sunday" on March 7, 1965, when 600 marchers headed for Montgomery were beaten and bloodied on the Edmund Pettus Bridge by state troopers and Clark's posse.
The brutality outlived that Sunday. On March 9, the Rev. James Reeb, a Boston minister, was fatally beaten on the streets of Selma. A little more than two weeks later, a carload of Klansmen, one of them an FBI informer, gunned down a Detroit housewife named Viola Liuzzo on Highway 80.
Within a few months, nationwide indignation hastened passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Against 400 elected black officials across the country then, there are now about 300 in Alabama and almost 5,700 nationwide.
Jesse L. Jackson said it at 20th anniversary festivities last weekend: Without Selma and the Voting Rights Act, there would be no 20-member Congressional Black Caucus today, no Hispanic Caucus, no women's caucus.
"They're the fruits of Selma ," Jackson declared.
So is Jackson, who captured the limelight last weekend while the Reeses and Hunters marched quietly.