Thursday, October 11, 2012

10/11/12 UU Living Legacy Pilgrimage "Forward into the past"

I have some stories and photos from the past since last Monday.  At Zion United Methodist Church in Marion Alabama, Mrs. Avery, Mrs. Atkins, Mrs. Della Simpson Maynard and Mrs. Williams told their stories about the meeting held at Zion church.  People were concerned about Rev. James Orange  who was in jail there in Marion; everyone being aware of the plans to take him out to kill him.  

Memorial plaque for Rev. James Orange
Marion, Alabama

These women experienced things the night of the meeting that remain with them still, inspiring them to work with voter registration, to be jailed, to watch their families, friends and neighbors struggling and standing for what is right.  They remember how chaos broke out as they planned how to march till they released Rev. Orange.  CT Vivian spoke.  Folks tried to get out the back door.  People were beat around Mac's Cafe.  Jimmie saw his father abused and his mother being beaten. He tried to protect his mother and was shot dead.  

Mrs. Simpson Maynard told how the kids had no fear.  Some were taken to jail at the state penitentiary.  Mrs. Atkins told how hard it was that night, how she wiped blood off of someone.  All of the women said that Jimmie Lee Jackson did not die in vain. They continued in the Movement, making their contributions and standing up for freedom. 

All of these women have concerns for youth and how to help them understand that the movement continues and that they need to vote because of how precious a right it is that so many suffered and sacrificed and died for.  

We visited Jimmie Lee Jackson's grave which was fortified with concrete because of shots fired at the marker.  

So much of those early days of the Pilgrimage come together in the many people who tell us their stories and experiences.  Marion was not on my internal map but now my heart is populated by these women and their their courage and heart in the Movement and Jimmie Lee Jackson's death has more meaning to me now in the context of their stories and history.

1 comment:

Michael Benefiel said...

As Ella Baker reminded us: Give light and people will find our way. Mark Morrison-Reed's new book, The Selma Awakening, attempts to revise the history of community struggles in Alabama. Very often, women whose names are not even recorded in the newspapers were the ones who made food, cleaned up, set the tables. They enabled many to join in marches because they did not call attention to themselves. They worked. As a feminist friend told me: "If you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman." There's more than a grain of truth in that painful remark...