CIVIL RIGHTS MEMORIAL - CIVIL RIGHTS MARTYRS
The Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery Alabama
is sponsored by the Southern Poverty Law Center
Presented in this media by Uriah J. Fields
As the Presenter of this "Civil Rights Martyrs list, let me begin by
expressing my heartfelt thanks to the Southern Poverty Law Center
for being a keeper of history that pertains to civil rights and maintaining
an unrelenting commitment to exposing the enemies of equality and
justice for all,especially perpetrators of racism, i.e., racial hate groups.
I lived in Montgomery for a decade that included the period of the Montgomery Bus Boycott which I helped to lead and was the pastor of Bell Street Baptist Church that was one of four churches and two parsonages bombed in the wee hours. Taylor Branch, in his book "Parting the Waters," stated, Bell Street Baptist Church suffered the most destruction on the night of the bombs. (p. 200). The church was rebuilt under my pastoral leadership.
On the Civil Rights Memorial are inscribed the names of 41 individuals who lost their lives in the struggle for freedom during the modern Civil Rights Movement - 1955 to 1968 - that began with the arrest of Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The martyrs include activists who were targeted for death because of their civil rights involvement: random victims to vigilantes determined to halt the movement, and prevent individuals who in the sacrifice of their lives, brought new awareness to the struggle that pricked the consciousnesses of many people in America and much of the world.
The chronology below lists the names of these civil rights martyrs, their race and the state where they were murdered. (Persons who are not designated as "white" are "black") Of the 41 persons listed 16 were killed in Mississippi and 14 were killed in Alabama. Some of them were Northerners. More information is available at the Civil Rights Memorial Center. These Civil Rights Martyrs:
Rev. George Lee (Killed May 7, 1955) (Mississippi)
Lamar Smith (Mississippi)
Emmett Louis Till, age 14 (Mississippi)
John Earl Reese, age 16 (Texas)
Willie Edwards Jr. (Alabama)
Mack Charles Parker (Mississippi)
Herbert Lee (Mississippi)
Cpl. Roman Ducksworth, Jr. (Mississippi)
Paul Guihard (white French reporter) (Mississippi)
William Lewis Moore (white) (Alabama)
Medgar Evers (Mississippi)
Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carol Robertson,
and Cynthia Wesley (Children, killed in bombing of
Birmingham's Sixteen Street Baptist Church) (Alabama)
Virgil Lamar Ware, age 13 (Alabama)
Louis Allen (Mississippi)
Johnnie Mae Chappell (Flordia)
Rev. Bruce Klunder (white) (Ohio)
Henry Hezekiah Dee and Charles Eddie Moore (Mississippi)
James Earl Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner
(Goodman and Schwerner are white) (Mississippi)
Lt Col. Lemuel Penn (Georgia)
Jimmie Lee Jackson (Alabama)
Rev. James Reeb (white) (Alabama)
Viola Gregg Liuzzo (white) (Alabama)
Oneal Moore (Louisiana)
Willie Brewster (Alabama)
Jonathan Myrick Daniels (white) (Alabama)
Samuel Leamon Younger Jr. (Alabama)
Vernon Ferdinand Dahmer (white) (Alabama)
Ben Chester White (Mississippi)
Clarence Triggs (Louisiana)
Wharlest Jackson (Mississippi)
Benjamin Brown (Mississippi)
Samuel Ephesians Hammond, Jr, Delano Herman Middleton
and Henry Ezekial Smith (South Carolina)
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., (Killed April 4, 1968) (Tennessee)
Struggle and death have been the paths and price African Americans and some white people have endured and paid in their fight for justice for African Americans. The abolitionist Frederick Douglass said, Without struggle there is no progress. Struggle has been the experience of African Americans who were enslaved for 244 years and subjected 100 years of legal segregation in America. And in the third millennium the struggle continues in the pursuit of justice and equality.
Jesse Jackson declared a truth that is evident when he says, We've never lost a battle we've fought, and never won a battle unless we've fought.
Let us engage in the struggle in such a manner that we can say individually, when we come to the end of our journey on earth as did the Apostle Paul, I have fought the good fight. Let this be your epitaph.
Uriah J. Fields was the original secretary of the Montgomery Improvement Association that was organized four days after the arrest of Rosa Parks who refused to give her bus seat to a white person, to give structure to and direct the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The result, sixty years after the "Plessy vs. Ferguson" Supreme Court's decision declaring "separate but equal" was consitutional, desegregation of buses in Montgomery, Alabama.
Copyright 2017 by Uriah J. Fields