Saturday, March 7, 2015

50 Years Ago Today: the Art and Discipline of Non-Violence

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the march on Selma, Alabama in support of voting rights for African Americans. The first person across the bridge was John Lewis. He was also the first beaten unconscious by police. This event, came to be known as Bloody Sunday and spurred many Unitarian Universalists to go to Selma and join in the struggle. See photos from then, here.

April 2, 1965, less than a month after he was attacked, John Lewis spoke at UUSS about his experiences in Selma. His visit to Schenectady was sponsored by our "Church Council" (AKA Board of Trustees) and the Schenectady branch of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC.)

At Unitarian Universalist Society Schenectady, members were well aware of what was happening and in support of Civil Rights. The Orders of Service from the months of March and April 1965 show a series of Sunday sermons and weekly talks about Civil Rights.

One of the organizations this church raised money for in 1965 was SNCC. And while I do not know if there is a direct link, we also funded, through the church, a position for a person who connected with young adults at the local colleges. It was college youth who made up SNCC.

You can hear John Lewis speak about Selma and the Art and Discipline of Non-Violence in what I found to be a very moving interview here.