The Reverend Bruce William Klunder holds a special place in civil rights history: he is one of only 40 names to appear on the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Alabama. Born and raised in Oregon, Klunder graduated from Oregon State University in 1958. Three years later he completed his theological training at Yale. Moving to Cleveland in 1961, Klunder was associate executive secretary of the Student Christian Union, ministering to students at both Case Institute of Technology and Western Reserve University (now unified in the Case Western Reserve University). Klunder also served as assistant pastor of Church of the Covenant in Cleveland.
On April 7, 1964 Klunder, along with other activists organized by the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), was protesting the building of a new school in one of Cleveland’s black neighborhoods. That school, activists believed, would simply reify Cleveland’s pattern of school segregation. To block the use of heavy construction equipment, two people lay down in front of a bulldozer. Klunder lay down behind it. The driver did not know Klunder was behind him. To avoid the protestors, the driver backed the bulldozer away, crushing Klunder to death and triggering a
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Publication information: Book title: Rhetoric, Religion and the Civil Rights Movement, 1954-1965. Contributors: Davis W. Houck - Editor, David E. Dixon - Editor. Publisher: Baylor University Press. Place of publication: Waco, TX. Publication year: 2006. Page number: 559.
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