Archive for the ‘Selma50’ Category

Playing the “In God We Trust Card” in a World Where Selma, Ferguson, and Haters Abound

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

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“We can’t hate white people. They live with us, march with us, pray with us, and die with us.” Rev. Alfred Daniel Williams (AD) King in 1968

“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Just when you think you know everything, God sends you back to school. This is definitely the case for me right now. I just returned from the 50th Anniversary of Selma and Bloody Sunday, where my daddy, Rev. A. D. King was among those who were on the bridge that day. President Obama, Congressman John Lewis and thousands of others preceded my visit the day before. The President delivered a rousing and soul stirring speech. In what has become my custom, I delivered a controversial response on FOX NEWS.

The next day, my daughter Celeste and I boarded a ML King Center bus caravan and headed to Marion, AL , the birthplace of civil rights martyr Jimmie Lee Jackson. We arrived at Mt. Zion Baptist Church and were greeted by Ms. Shirley Jackson, Jimmie Lee’s cousin. We were given the historical account: on February 18, 1965, while participating in a peaceful voting rights march in Marion, Jimmie Lee was beaten by troopers and shot by Alabama State Trooper James Bonard Fowler. Jackson was unarmed. The hospital in Marion denied him treatment, and he was taken to Selma and died eight days later in the hospital there.

His death was part of the inspiration for the Selma to Montgomery marches in March 1965, a major event in the American Civil Rights Movement that helped gain Congressional passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The now historical “Bloody Sunday” opened the door to millions of African Americans being able to vote again in Alabama and across the South, regaining participation as citizens in the political system for the first time since the turn of the 20th century, having been disenfranchised by state constitutions and discriminatory practices.

From there, our bus tour joined the march to the Edmund Pettus Bridge. On the way out of town later that day, we visited the SCLC Women’s Monument to Viola Luizzo the 39 year old housewife and mother of five who heeded the call of my uncle MLK, and traveled from Detroit, Michigan to Selma, Alabama in the wake of the Bloody Sunday attempt at marching across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. She participated in the successful Selma to Montgomery marches and helped with coordination and logistics. Driving back from a trip shuttling fellow activists to the Montgomery airport, she was shot by members of the Ku Klux Klan. My mother Naomi King later befriended Viola’s daughter. My mother often travels to Selma and visits the memorial site of Viola.

We watched the Oscar winning musical presentation of the song GLORY; a theme song of the SELMA movie.

We also viewed a screening of the video about Dr. MLK’s leadership role in the SELMA campaign.

Then on the bus, the young students from ML King High School and ML King Middle School gave oral reports of what they had learned on the trip. They learned that the Civil Rights Movement wasn’t about skin color, it was about God’s love for all people, and the need to regard every human being as someone God loves. They learned that many white people along with black people were hurt and killed during the SELMA demonstrations. We all learned a lot.

I was reminded that human rights are about God’s love. That God’s word and God’s way is best. That hate only begets hate. Love never fails. This wasn’t my first visit to Edmund Pettus Bridge. I had joined several prolife colleagues a few years before to observe Bloody Sunday and to remind people that millions of aborted babies would never be allowed to vote. This isn’t a popular part of the memories, but it must be said.

I guess the biggest lesson for me is that it’s time to throw in the deck for the race card, and start using the God card. Freedom after all, is for everyone.

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Dr. Alveda King Will “March for the Babies” at #Selma50

Friday, March 6th, 2015


Date: March 6, 2015

Contact: Leslie Palma

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Dr. Alveda King, Director of African American Outreach for Priests for Life, will join hundreds of people from around the world at the Selma50 observance on Sunday, March 8.

“They were marching for the right to vote back then. Hundreds of us will march to commemorate the price many paid, some with their lives, for the right for African-Americans to vote,” she said. “I will be marching and praying also for America to wake up to the fact that since 1973 over 55 million babies, about 18 million of them Black, have been legally aborted in America. They died before they were able to grow up and vote. There is a connection here. As my Uncle ML once said: ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,’ said Dr. King.

Alveda recalls her father, Rev. A.D. King, coming home from Selma 50 years ago and telling his children how bad it was. By that time, she was already well versed in the strategy of non-violent protests, so she was not shaken by the events, even though she was just 14 years old.

“We were not afraid,” Alveda said. “We knew God was with us. We had to remain nonviolent and trust God. My mother, Naomi Ruth Barber King, an activist in her own rights, has befriended the daughter of Viola Liuzzo who lost her life shortly after Bloody Sunday, on March 25, as she drove a black man from Montgomery to Selma. Mother often talks about the courage of those who fought so valiantly during those days.”

All protesters were trained in methods of nonviolent conflict resolution before going out to march. They all even signed a covenant to follow the Ten Commandments of the civil rights movement. They never knew if they would live to see another day.

The first commandment was “Meditate daily on the teachings and life of Jesus.” The rest stressed following those teachings through nonviolent protest.

While Alveda didn’t march at Selma, she did first put her training to the test two years earlier when she participated in the 1963 Children’s Crusade March in Birmingham. That same year, on May 11, 1963, A.D. King’s home was bombed.

Alveda King said the thing she remembers most about the bombing was her father calming down the ensuing riot.

She recalls that AD grabbed a bullhorn and stood on top of a car and said “Don’t fight back; don’t throw rocks. If you’re going to kill somebody, kill me; but I’d rather you pray.”

Years later, after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968, A.D. King used his words not to calm a riot, but to calm his daughter.

Alveda said she was “devastated by Uncle ML’s murder”, and even went so far as to want to hate someone. But her father helped her stay focused on nonviolence: “Alveda, White people marched with us, prayed with us, and died with us,” he said “The devil killed your uncle.”

Her father ADK, her famous uncle MLK, her grandparents MLK, Sr. and Alberta Williams King, and even her great grandparents were all Christian leaders who embraced the love of God, and nonviolent conflict resolution. One of the family’s major scripture foundations is derived from Acts 17:26: “Of one blood, God created all people to live on the earth.”

A year after the death of MLK, A.D. King was found dead in his swimming pool. While there was no water in his lungs, the cause of death was labeled as a drowning accident. Alveda “found the strength to carry on the King Family Legacy by faith in God and His love.”

Today Alveda King continues to fight for civil rights and is involved today, not only for continued racial equality, but for the rights of the unborn child.

Dr. Alveda King is a non-denominational minister, author of the book KING RULES, and is the Director of African-American Outreach with Priests for Life.

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