Black Lives Matter! Selma!

By William R. Freeman (M.Div. ’01)

Back in 1965, most people had never heard of this small town in southern Alabama.  Selma was just another place where Jim Crow was the way of life and a racist man named Jim Clark was the sheriff. I was a young man of 26 born in the even smaller Alabama town of Standing Rock who, at the age of 8, had moved to Harlem, New York City.

As a member of a very active church, and being from Alabama, Dr. King was one of my heroes, and I tried to stay abreast of what was going on back in my home state.  One reason was because of the relatives who still lived there then, and some of whom continue live in Alabama; many of them had been “down so long” they were brainwashed into questioning the work of SCLC, SNC and even Dr. King.  They would say things like, “It’s just the way things are.”

Now, things in 1965 were totally different from 2016.  In 1965 national news was broadcast on three stations CBS, NBC and ABC, and for only one-half hour each evening.  There were no cable networks; no cell phones, and of course, no smart phones or tablets.  However, our Young Adult group made sure we kept up on the movement and I know Bloody Sunday woke up the Sleeping Giants around the country and the world.

Lastly, today, as we watch the dismantling of the Civil Rights Act of 1965, I pray that it will not take another Selma or Bloody Sunday to galvanize this country into living up to its creed that ALL MEN AND WOMEN ARE CREATED EQUAL.

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