Remembering the Martyrs of the Movement: The Civil Rights Memorial Honors 40 Who Dies in America for Basic Freedoms

Ebony, February 1990 | Go to article overview

Remembering the Martyrs of the Movement: The Civil Rights Memorial Honors 40 Who Dies in America for Basic Freedoms


Remembering the Martyrs of the Movement

THEY were the foot soldiers of a movement--Louis Allen, Addie Mae Collins, Viola Gregg Liuzzo, Mack Charles Parker and Emmett Till, to name just a few. As martyrs of the Civil Rights Movement, they died for a just cause, for the simple belief that Blacks and Whites could enjoy the American Dream as equals.

They are gone now, but certainly not forgotten.

The Civil Rights Memorial, located in Montgomery, Ala., is a moving tribute to a historic era. Created by the Southern Poverty Law Center and designed by Maya Lin, who also designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., the memorial consists of a large round table of black Canadian granite with the names of 40 select men, women and children carved on the table-top like the spokes of a wheel. Water oozes from the table's center and flows over the names. Behind the massive structure is a black granite wall with the Biblical quotation of the prophet Amos which Martin Luther King Jr. often used: ". . . Until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream."

The new memorial is an important shrine, a reminder that many lesser known persons put their lives on the line for freedom in this country. The dedication of the memorial was an emotional and inspiring event as 600 relatives of the honored martyrs mingled with such civil rights activists and dignitaries as Julian as Julian Bond, Martin Luther King 222, Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., Rosa Parks and thousands of other visitors who came to honor and and remember. "It's important," one observer said, "that the history of the Civil Rights Movement be kept alive along with the memories of the known and unknown contributors."

FORTY FOR THE AGES

1 Louis Allen--A farmer shot Jan. 31, 1964, in Liberty, Miss., after witnessing the murder of Herbert Lee, a civil rights worker.

2 Willie Brewster--A factory worker died July 16, 1965, in Anniston, Ala., from a nightrider's bullet.

3 Benjamin Brown--A truck driver and civil rights worker killed May 12, 1967, when police fired on demonstrators in Jackson, Miss.

4 James Chaney--A civil rights worker abducted and shot at point-blank range June 21, 1964, by Klan members in Philadelphia, Miss.

5 Addie Mae Collins--A schoolgirl killed Sept. 15, 1963, in the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham.

6 Vernon Dahmer--A community leader died Jan. 10, 1966, from a firebomb in Hattiesburg, Miss., after volunteering to pay Black voters' poll taxes.

7 Jonathan Daniels--A white seminary Student shot dead Aug. 14, 1965, by a deputy sheriff in Hayneville, Ala.

8 Henry H. DEE--A civil rights volunteer abducted, beaten and thrown into the Mississippi River in Natchez, miss., May 2, 1964, by the Klan.

9 Cpl. Roman Ducksworth Jr.--A miliary policeman shot to death April 9, 1962, in Taylorsville, after refusing a police order to sit in the back of the bus.

10 Willie Edwards Jr.--Adeliveryman killed Jan. 23, 1957, near Montgomery, Ala., when the Klan forced him to jump from a bridge into the Alabama River.

11 Medgar Evers--A civil rights leader shot June 12, 1963, in the driveway of his home in Jackson, Miss.

12 Andrew goodman--A civil rights worker abducted and shot at point-blank range June 21, 1964, by the Klan in Philadelphia, Miss.

13 Paul Guihard--A French new s reporter shot in the back Sept. 30, 1962, during grace riots at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Miss.

14 Samuel Hammond Jr.--A South Carolina State College student fatally shot Feb. 8, 1968, when police fired on demonstrators in Orangeburg, S. …

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