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The city of Selma has been the epicenter of some of the most significant events and eras in Alabama history. First settled in the colonial period, Selma soon became an important center of the cotton industry, especially shipping for its location on the Alabama River. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Selma took on new importance as the site of the Selma Ordnance and Naval Foundry, which provided munitions and metal plating for the Confederate Navy's ironclad warships. Federal troops burned much of the town during the war, and in the aftermath, plantation agriculture centered on sharecropping and tenant farming, which became the dominant economic system. Farming was mostly performed by Selma's Black population, who lived little better than they had under slavery. It is no wonder, then, that Selma would become a locus of the civil rights movement with the establishment of an NAACP chapter and the Dallas County Voters League in the 1920s. Their efforts continued with little success until the 1960s, when local and visiting civil rights leaders organized large-scaled demonstrations and voting rights campaigns. The city's iconic Edmund Pettus Bridge served as the stage for the movement's most infamous series of incidents as state and local police attacked marchers during their attempts to walk from Selma to Montgomery in March 1965. Today, Selma is recognizing the cultural tourism benefits of its history through its numerous museums and other cultural institutions.