Resources on History – Civil Rights Movement

Finish Life Loving God

By Charlie Wingard · October 18, 2018 · 0 Comments
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Years spent in slavery, an indomitable determination to live free, industry, hard won manumission, sterling character, social activism, and fruitful gospel ministry are woven together in the remarkable life of Richard Allen, founder of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Central to his story is his conversion to Christianity. In his autobiography, he discloses his abiding ambition: “I entered life without acknowledging Thee. Let me therefore finish it in loving Thee.” — in Richard S. Newman, Freedom’s Prophet, Bishop Richard Allen, the AME Church, and the Black Founding Fathers (New York University Press, 2008), 41.

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Remembering September 15, 1963

By Charlie Wingard · September 14, 2018 · 0 Comments
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The heart of American Christians rightly goes out to persecuted Christians in other parts of the world. But we mustn’t forget that our nation has its own tragic history of persecuting believers. The persecutors have often been professing members of the Christian church. Fifty-five years ago tomorrow, Denise McNair looked forward to a special Sunday. She would participate in her church’s Sunday morning service, which would conclude with the sermon, “The Love That Forgives.” She dressed carefully for the day. The case above includes her purse, Buster Brown shoes, a Ten Commandment bracelet, and the piece of brick removed from her skull, a fragment of the explosion that claimed her life.  Three 14 year-old friends perished with her: Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley,…

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Taylor Branch’s America in the King Years

By Charlie Wingard · July 21, 2017 · 0 Comments
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  My father established a nightly routine for me that continues to shape my life today. After supper from 1963 to 1969, we sat side-by-side on the couch and watched the evening news, either the Huntley-Brinkley Report or Walter Cronkite. During those years, I was exposed to people and events that would remain life-long interests: the space program (I loved watching the Mercury and Gemini launches), the war in Vietnam (with its tragic tallies of killed, wounded, and missing), political races (the first I remember is the 1966 Callaway/Maddox Georgia gubernatorial contest), and the civil rights movement. I was sitting next to my father when I learned of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination in April 1968.  The Atlanta church we…

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The Rev. George Lee Museum

By Charlie Wingard · May 24, 2017 · 0 Comments
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George W. Lee was assassinated on May 7, 1955 in Belzoni, Mississippi. A minister and entrepreneur, he became the first African American in the 20th century to register to vote in Humphreys County. A vocal leader in the voter registration campaign, he is sometimes identified as the first martyr of the modern Civil Rights Movement. Ambushed while driving his automobile, Lee’s assailants were never brought to justice. Rosebud Lee chose an open casket funeral for her husband. Photographs of his face, disfigured by the shotgun blast, drew national attention. Four months later, grieving Mamie Till-Mobley would leave open the casket of  her 14-year-old son, Emmett, lynched further north in the Delta. George Lee is buried nearby at the Green Grove Baptist Church cemetery. For a number of years, I wanted to visit…

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“Delta Jewels: In Search of My Grandmother’s Wisdom”

By Charlie Wingard · November 13, 2015 · 0 Comments
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Last night I spent a memorable evening listening to photographer and author Alysia Burton Steele, who traveled 6,000 miles throughout the Mississippi Delta to interview 54 African-American women who grew up, married, and raised children during the Jim Crow era. Her Delta Jewels: In Search of My Grandmother’s Wisdom shares their stories. One of the grandmothers is Mrs. Velma T. Moore of Benoit. Married for 49 years when widowed, 15 children, 145 grandchildren, 33 great-grands, 26 great-great grands, and 14 great-great-great grands. Her testimony: “I always said, “Lord, I want one husband. I want all of my childen to be by that one man.’ And God fixed it so . . . I’m still Mrs. Moore. I be Mrs. Moore until…

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Remembering a Seminarian’s Courage

By Charlie Wingard · August 20, 2015 · 0 Comments
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Fifty years ago today VMI graduate and Episcopal theological student Jon Daniels was murdered in Hayneville, Alabama. A New Hampshire native, Daniels spent much of the spring and summer of 1965 working in Selma, Alabama’s voter registration campaign. While picketing racially discriminatory businesses in Ft. Deposit on August 14, he was one of a group of  protestors arrested and transported to the county jail in nearby Hayneville. In wretched living conditions, Daniels labored for the better part of a week to keep up the group’s spirits, leading his fellow prisoners in prayer and hymn singing.  An Episcopal group offered to post bail for Daniels. He declined; there wasn’t enough money to free all the prisoners. He would remain with his colleagues. Unexpectedly and ominously,  the prisoners were…

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