Small church fed, housed, transported, and advised at least 225 UUs who joined the Selma-to-Montgomery march in 1965.
For its courageous work in support of the civil rights movement, in particular during events surrounding Bloody Sunday in 1965, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Birmingham, Alabama, was honored by the Living Legacy Project during the Marching in the Arc of Justice conference in March 2015. The congregation fed, housed, transported, and advised at least 225 UUs who joined the Selma-to-Montgomery march in 1965. More than half of a group called Concerned White Citizens, who marched to the Selma courthouse to support black voting rights, were UUs, many of them from Birmingham.
“In a real sense, I am, as a UU, prouder of that [group of UUs] than I am of the hundreds of us who came from somewhere else, where we faced few reprisals, and showed up briefly,” said the Rev. Dr. Gordon D. Gibson, a Selma veteran and a founder of the Living Legacy Project. “Those people did something very, very brave.” The church continues to be a leader in civil rights causes, including work for LGBT rights.
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Watch the ceremony honoring the UU Church of Birmingham. (© Living Legacy Project)
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Elaine McArdle is a UU World senior editor and a member of First Unitarian Church in Portland, Oregon. An award-winning journalist with more than 20 years of experience, she has also written for the Boston Globe, Harvard Law Bulletin, and others.
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