Greene County Civil Rights Movement leads to countywide election of Black officials

The early Civil Rights Movement in Greene County, spawned by the youth who boycotted the local schools in 1965, including Carver High School, Greene County Training School and Eatman Jr. High School, gave rise to the growing movement for Black voter registration and interest in seeking political office. Reportedly, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. visited Greene County in 1965 and spoke at the First Baptist Church in Eutaw, urging the Black community to continue to organize and “vote themselves into office.”
Although, the demonstrations, marches, and boycott of local merchants resulted in great physical harm, displacement from homes and farms, continued threats of violence to the Black community, the Greene County Movement had grounded itself and attracted others outside the county to give assistance including legal aid and training in community non-violent protest.
At this time Rev. Peter J. Kirksey of the Dollarhide community was serving as the first Black elected official in Greene County, as a member of the Greene County Board of Education. In 1968, six Blacks qualified for the Primary Election as candidates of the newly organized National Democratic Party of Alabama (NDPA), under the leadership of Dr. John Cashin, from Huntsville, AL. However, the names of the four Black candidates for Greene County Commission and the two Black candidates for Greene County Board of Education were not placed on the official Greene County Ballot for the 1968 election. The Black NDPA candidates for county commission were Vassie Knott, Harry C. Means, Levi Morrow, Sr., and Franchie Burton. The two schools board candidates were Robert Hines and James A. Posey. All six filed suit in federal court for a new election, with the U.S. Justice Department intervening as a “friend of the court.” The case was before the Supreme Court and the Justice Department asked for an injunction to “…set aside the election of six white candidates elected to the disputed county offices on the regular Democratic Party ticket.” The plaintiffs won their suit and the court ordered a new election which was held July 29, 1969.
The Special Election of 1969 gave Blacks majority control of the Greene County Commission and the Greene County Board of Education. The newly elected officials assumed their duties on August 1, 1969.
The school board elected Mr. Peter J. Kirksey as Board President and the board proceeded to initiated administrative changes in the school system. Orzell Billingsley of Birmingham, who had been active in the Greene County Civil Rights Movement was hired as school board attorney. The first Black superintendent of schools, Robert Brown, was hired in 1970.
In 1970, the NDPA sponsored another slate of candidates for the Primary Election: William M. Branch for Probate Judge; Thomas Gilmore for Sheriff; W.D. Lewis for State Representative; Earsrie Chambers and John Head for School Board; Wadine Williams for Circuit Clerk; Abner Milton for Coroner and Jack Drake for Circuit Judge, 17th Judicial District. Drake was subsequently disqualified since he did not meet the residential requirements in Greene County.
The results of the Nov. 3, 1970 General Election as reported in the Greene County Democrat newspaper were as follows: Greene Countians cast 4,700 ballots. Branch defeated Herndon for probate judge by 92 votes; Gilmore defeated Lee for sheriff by 87 votes; Williams defeated Yarbrough for circuit clerk by 178 votes; Milton defeated Brown for coroner by 117 votes; Chambers defeated Eatman for school board by 139 votes; Head defeated Wright for school board by 134 votes.
Since 1970, with a population of 80% African American, Greene County has maintained majority positions on the county commission, school board and has continued to elect Blacks to other county offices including sheriff, probate judge, circuit clerk, coroner and circuit judge.

Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Julian Castro, Sherrod Brown and Cory Booker will all attend the Sunday Unity Breakfast Democratic Presidential candidates to attend Bridge Crossing Jubilee in Selma this weekend

SELMA, AL – “The Martin and Coretta King Unity Breakfast is power-packed this year. In fact, it is more power-packed than any breakfast we have ever had,” said former Alabama State Senator Hank Sanders. The Breakfast is this Sunday, March 3rd, at 7:30 a.m. on the campus of Wallace Community College Selma.
Dr. James Mitchell, President of Wallace Community College Selma, said: “It is great for this college to host the Annual Martin and Coretta King Unity Breakfast on our campus. It is great for the students, faculty, community, and all those connected with the college to see and hear from national and world-recognized leaders up close. This is always a powerful event, and this year promises to be even more powerful.”
“The world-renowned Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee for President in 2016 and who received three million more popular votes than her opponent, is being honored. She is known all over the world for her work as U.S. Secretary of State and her advancement of women’s rights. She will be inducted into the Women’s Hall of Fame at the National Voting Rights Museum and will receive the International Unity Award at the King Unity Breakfast,” said Sanders.
At this same breakfast, we will have U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, who was Secretary Clinton’s chief competitor for the Democratic nomination in 2016 and is running again for President in 2020. We will also have three other 2020 presidential candidates speaking at the Martin and Coretta King Unity Breakfast: U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio; former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and Mayor of San Antonio Julian Castro; and U.S. Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey.
“Other speakers will include Martin Luther King, III; Reverend Jesse Jackson, founder of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition; Dr. Charles Steele, President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC); and Barbara Arnwine, President of the Transformative Justice Coalition. There will also be powerful singing performances by the original SNCC Freedom Singers and mutli-award winner and gospel legend Dottie Peoples,” said Sanders.
The 2019 Bridge Crossing Jubilee begins this Thursday, February 28th, at 7:00 p.m. with an Old Fashion Mass Meeting with Reverend Jamal Bryant, of Atlanta and formerly of Baltimore, at Tabernacle Baptist Church. There are 40-50 events during the Jubilee, most of which are free to the public, from Thursday, February 28th, through Sunday, March 3rd.
Friday includes many workshops, including an all day Education Summit starting at 8:00 AM at the Hank Sanders Technology Building at Wallace Community College; the 5:00 p.m. Mock Trial at the Dallas County Courthouse; children and youth activities; the annual A Public Conversation with Mark Thompson, host of Make It Plain on SiriusXM Channel 127 and MSNBC Contributor, and others; and other events. MSNBC will be in Selma from Friday through Sunday providing coverage.
Saturday morning are two work sessions at Wallace Community College Selma to kick off a national nonpartisan voting initiative, Lift Our Vote 2020. National Bridge Crossing Jubilee Coordinator Faya Toure said: “The Annual Bridge Crossing Jubilee Festival takes place Saturday and Sunday afternoon in downtown Selma with diverse musical performances, arts, food and so much more.
Saturday also includes the Hip Hop Youth Summit, the annual parade and more. The Annual Freedom Flame Awards Gala, which is filled with nationally and internationally renowned honorees, on Saturday at 7:00 p.m., culminates a day overflowing with events that include something for all, no matter your age, race, gender,

Newwire : Will Reparations become Democrats’ campaign theme?

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire
Correspondent@StacyBrownMedia

A new refrain could be taking center stage during the 2020 Presidential Campaign. Senators Kamala Harris of California and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, both 2020 presidential candidates, said they support reparations for African Americans to redress the legacy of the slavery.

The senators’ statements came as many are observing the 500thanniversary of the transatlantic slave trade and the 400th year since the first African was brought to Virginia.“ I think that we have got to address that again. It’s back to the inequities,” Harris said during in an interview with The Breakfast Club radio show. “America has a history of slavery. We had Jim Crow. We had legal segregation in America for a very long time,” she said.
Harris continued:
“We have got to recognize, back to that earlier point, people aren’t starting out on the same base in terms of their ability to succeed and so we have got to recognize that and give people a lift up.”
When she told the radio show’s host, Charlamagne Tha God, that “Livable Incomes for Families Today,” the Middle Class Act tax cut plan is one way to address the rising costs and the inequities of living in the U.S., the host asked if her comments were about reparations. “Yes,” Harris said.
She also noted the “systemic racism” in the criminal justice system .“We have a problem with mass incarceration in particular of black and brown men,” Harris said. “There is no question that no mother or father in America should have to sit down when their son turns 12 and start having the talk with that child about how he may be stopped, arrested or killed because of the color of his skin,” she said, addressing police brutality.
Warren also said she supported reparations for both African Americans and Native Americans. “America has an ugly history of racism,” Warren said after addressing Democrats at an annual state dinner in New Hampshire, according to The Boston Globe. “We need to confront it head-on. And we need to talk about the right way to address it and make change.”
Warren later expanded on her ideas for Native American reparations in a statement, writing that, “tribal nations have unique interests, priorities and histories, and should not be treated monolithically.”
“I fully support the federal government doing far more to live up to its existing trust and treaty responsibilities and that includes a robust discussion about historical injustices against Native people.”
She continued: “Tribal nations have a government-to-government relationship with the federal government, and they deserve a seat at the table in all decisions that will affect the well-being of their people and their communities.”
Another Democratic Presidential hopeful, Julian Castro, also has said he endorses reparations.
A 2017 article in Quartz, noted that to “repair this breach, it’s becoming increasingly clear that reparations for black slavery and its legacy—including Jim Crow—must be part of the equation.”
The article continued:
“Facing what activist Randall Robinson calls ‘the debt’ to people of African descent, those of us who are low on melanin content (aka ‘white’) will have to address the often uncomfortable history of how lighter skin color conferred, and continues to confer, economic advantage. To do otherwise is to live a destructive lie, perpetuating a perverted myth of deservedness that holds back our entire society and each of us individually.”
As Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote in his groundbreaking 2014 Atlantic article, reparations are “the price we must pay to see ourselves squarely.”
“Reparations,” he continued, “beckons us to reject the intoxication of hubris and see America as it is—the work of fallible humans. An America that looks away is ignoring not just the sins of the past but the sins of the present and the certain sins of the futureCoates said.

Newswire : Sewell, Leahy introduce The Voting Rights Advancement Act (HR – 4)

U.S. Rep.
Terri Sewell

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced legislation today to help address the most egregious forms of recent voter suppression by developing a process to determine which states and localities with a recent history of voting rights violations must pre-clear election changes with the Department of Justice.

“In my hometown of Selma and throughout Alabama’s 7th Congressional District, Americans bled, marched and died for the right to vote, but the modern-day voter suppression we saw in the 2018 mid-term elections shows that old battles have become new again,” Sewell said. “Since the Supreme Court’s Shelby vs. Holder decision, many states have enacted more restrictive voting laws that have led us in the wrong direction. The Voting Rights Advancement Act helps protect and advance the legacy of those brave foot soldiers of the civil rights movement by restoring key provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and empowering the Justice Department to stop voter suppression tactics before they go into place.”

“Nearly 54 years ago next week, on March 7, a courageous band of civil rights activists – including my friend and hero, Congressman John Lewis – began a march for the right to vote from Selma to Montgomery. They marched non-violently in the face of unspeakable violence. On that Bloody Sunday, they shed their blood for the ballot. But we gather today for much more than a vital history lesson,” Leahy said. “We assemble today for a call to action. Voter suppression efforts are unacceptable and un-American. But because of a disastrous Supreme Court decision, they are almost impossible to stop. The Voting Right Advancement Act we are introducing today would restore and bolster the Voting Rights Act, and undo the damage done by the Shelby County decision.”

“The election of 2016 was a wakeup call. Voters were threatened and given false information. Hundreds of thousands of voters were purged from the rolls all over the country. People who had voted for decades were turned away from the polls. What happened? It was the first election in over 50 years without the protection of the Voting Rights Act,” Rep. John Lewis said. “We must repair what the Supreme Court damaged. We must pass this bill to ensure that every American has equal freedom to participate in our democracy.”

“The right to vote is one of the most sacred and fundamental tenets of our democracy. Despite the progress we have made as a nation since the passage of the Voting Rights Act, there are far too many examples of those in power working to make it harder for folks to vote,” Sen. Doug Jones said. “Efforts to restrict access to the ballot box disproportionately affect people of color, the elderly and people with disabilities. It’s just plain wrong. That’s why I am proud to once again join Congresswoman Sewell and our colleagues in introducing this important legislation and carrying on the legacy of all those who fought tirelessly to extend the right to vote to every American.”

“Voting is the basis of our democracy, and yet a privilege still denied to many. While we’ve seen state leaders in places like Texas challenge voting rights and actively suppress turnout, we can and must do more to break down barriers that keep Americans, and disproportionately minority communities, from the polls,” CHC Chairman Joaquin Castro said. “I’m proud to support H.R.4, which would restore a critical Voting Rights Act protection by requiring states with recent history of voter discrimination seek federal preclearance for election charges, and in doing so, prevent voter suppression, make elections more transparent and ensure all Americans, regardless of their zip code or skin color, have a voice in our democracy. This is not a partisan issue. As Americans, we must ensure the integrity of the robust democracy our Founding Fathers envisioned for our nation.”

The Supreme Courts’ 2013 Shelby County v. Holder ruling struck down Section 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which outlined the qualifications needed to determine which states are required by the Justice Department to pre-clear elections changes in states with a history of voter discrimination.

Since the Shelby decision, nearly two-dozen states have implemented restrictive voter ID laws and previously-covered states have closed or consolidated polling places, shortened early voting and imposed other measures that restrict voting.

The Voting Rights Advancement Act (VRAA) seeks to restore the VRA by developing a process to determine which states must pre-clear election changes with the Department of Justice. It will also require a nationwide, practice-based pre-clearance of known discriminatory practices, including the creation of at-large districts, inadequate multilingual voting materials and cuts to polling places.

The House and Senate will also hold a series of hearings to document the public record of voter suppression and the need for federal pre-clearance enforcement. In addition to Reps. Sewell, Lewis and Castro the bill was introduced by 207 representatives. In addition to Sens. Leahy and Jones, the bill was introduced by 46 senators.

The Voting Rights Advancement Act is endorsed by the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights; Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; Human Rights Campaign (HRC); Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC); National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund; Native American Rights Fund (NARF); National Education Association (NEA); Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF); NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.

Newswire : Nigerian nun shames Catholic Church for silence on sex abuse

Sister Veronica Openibo


 Feb. 25, 2019 (GIN) – A Nigerian nun faced a Vatican summit on sexual abuse in the Church and delivered a stinging indictment to stone-faced church leaders who failed to take action against abusers.

     It was the third day of the Vatican summit. Sister Veronica Openibo did not mince words.

     A member of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus, Sister Openibo said she had watched the American-made movie “Spotlight” about a U.S. newspaper, the Boston Globe, whose reporters discovered a decades-long cover-up of child abuse within the local Catholic Archdiocese.

     At the end of the film was a long list of cases and dioceses where the abuses had occurred, and reading about the number of children affected and seeing the vast amount of money spent on settlements, she said that tears of sorrow flowed.

     “How could the clerical Church have kept silent, covering these atrocities?” she asked.

     Sister Openibo, who serves on the executive board of the International Union of Superiors General, acknowledged that the church has at times failed to live up to its own moral code.

     “Yes, we proclaim the Ten Commandments and parade ourselves as being the custodians of moral standards and values and good behavior into society. But why did we keep silent for so long?”

     Openibo, one of only three women to address the event and the only speaker from Africa, went on to say the scandal had “seriously clouded the grace of the Christ mission”.

     “Is it possible for us to move from fear of scandal to truth? How do we remove the masks that hide our sinful neglect?” she asked.

     Openibo, who has worked in Africa, Europe and the US, said: “Too often we want to keep silent until the storm has passed. This storm will not pass by. Our credibility is at stake.”

     During the summit, bishops from the United States, Europe and Australia have urged caution when it comes to universal changes in church rules, saying that local cultures could require nuanced policies. But Sister Openibo said that church leaders should not make excuses when it comes to confronting abuse.

     “The fact that there are huge issues of poverty, illness, war and violence in some countries in the Global South does not mean that the area of sexual abuse should be downplayed or ignored,” she said. “The church has to be proactive in facing it.”

     The pontiff and the 190 bishops and cardinals in attendance watched videotaped testimony from survivors of abuse telling of their trauma and the cruel indifference shown by church leaders.

     One woman from Africa told the summit that a priest who had begun raping her at age 15 forced her to have three abortions, and beat her when she refused him sex. A survivor from Chile told the bishops and religious superiors they had inflicted even more pain on survivors by discrediting them and protecting priests who abused.

     A list of 21 “reflection points” written by the pope is expected to provide the basis for the development of new anti-abuse procedures for bishops. 

Newswire: Director Spike Lee wins first Oscar at 91st Annual Academy Awards

Spike Lee embraces actor Samuel L. Jackson at Academy Awards

By Lauren Victoria Burke, NNPA Newswire Contributor

Director Spike Lee, who was famously passed over for Best Film and Best Director for his 1992 film “Malcolm X,” won his first Oscar at the 91st Annual Academy Awards.
Wearing a purple suit and hat and seated in the front row at the Dolby Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles, Lee was nominated for two Oscars: Best Adaptive Screenplay for “Blackkklansman,” and for Best Director of the same film.
Though Lee did not win for Best Director for “Blackkklansman,” the evening featured a great deal of diversity as the Director of the film “Roma,” Alfonso Cuarón, was awarded for Best Director.
Lee’s production company, 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks, has produced over 35 films since 1983. Lee, 61, has created several memorable films including, “She’s Gotta Have It” (1986), “School Daze” (1988), “Do the Right Thing” (1989), “Mo’ Better Blues” (1990), “Jungle Fever” (1991) and “Malcolm X” (1992).
When Best Actor nominee Denzel Washington, who starred in “Malcolm X,” lost to Al Pacino for his performance in “Scent of A Woman” it was considered one the biggest snubs in Oscars history. Overall, “Malcolm X” won no major awards.
“It was so funny and so horrifying because it was based on the truth and truth is so precious these days,” said legendary singer and film director, Barbra Streisand, as she introduced Lee’s film “Blackkklansman,” at the Academy Awards.
Though Lee was born in Atlanta, he was raised on New York and has made Brooklyn, NY his hometown.

Newswire : Bennett College meets fundraising goal; Accreditation hearing expected soon

Bennett College President Phyllis Worthy Dawkins

Special to the Trice Edney News Wire from the Richmond Free Press

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – Bennett College, a historically Black all-women’s college in North Carolina that was facing loss of accreditation and possible closure because of financial problems, has exceeded its $5 million fundraising goal.

Bennett President Phyllis Worthy Dawkins announced Monday that the college raised $8.2 million thanks to the help of 11,000 donors, including alumnae, faith-based and community organizations, corporate donors and supporters from across the country.

Officials have been working since early December to raise by a Feb. 1 deadline $5 million, the minimum needed to maintain the college’s accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools’ Commission on Colleges. Bennett’s only sanction by the accrediting body was because of finances. It had to show that it could reach sound financial footing.

Calls to aid the college founded in 1873 went out from Bennett officials, its network of alumnae and others, including graduates of Spelman College in Atlanta, the only other black all-women’s college in the nation, and Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole, who formerly served as president of both Bennett and Spelman. Dr. Cole met last week in Richmond with alumnae of both colleges and produced a video seeking donations that was circulated on social media.
Donors responded.

At Monday’s news conference, High Point University President Nido Qubein handed over a slew of high-bill donations adding up to hundreds of thousands of dollars, from various bodies he and the university are associated with before finally presenting a $1 million check from the university.

Papa John’s, the pizza chain, donated $500,000, along with the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation.
Bennett officials also credited many African-American organizations and churches for stepping up with gifts. Among the top donations from Greek-letter organizations and faith-based groups were $100,000 from Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority; $50,000 from Delta Sigma Theta Sorority; $31,000 from Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity; $50,000 from Alfred Street Baptist Church in Northern Virginia; and $40,000 from Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Greensboro, N.C.

Bennett College also received one its largest single gifts in the institution’s history as a result of the quick campaign — $1 million from businesswoman Kwanza Jones and her husband, José E. Feliciano of California.

Ms. Jones is founder and chief executive officer of SUPERCHARGED by Kwanza Jones, a global lifestyle and personal development company, while Mr. Feliciano is co-founder and managing partner of Clearlake Capital Group, a private investment firm.

Ms. Jones’ mother, Dorothy Wilkerson Jones, graduated from Bennett in 1965, while her aunt, Brenda Wilkerson Hoover, graduated in 1963.

Patricia Woodard, executive assistant to Dr. Dawkins, said Bennett’s next step is appearing before the accrediting agency’s appeals committee on Feb. 18. She said an accreditation ruling is expected by Feb. 25.

Newswire: Will Reparations become Democrats’ campaign theme?

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

Statue of Slavery

A new refrain could be taking center stage during the 2020 Presidential Campaign. Senators Kamala Harris of California and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, both 2020 presidential candidates, said they support reparations for African Americans to redress the legacy of the slavery.
The senators’ statements came as many are observing the 500thanniversary of the transatlantic slave trade and the 400th year since the first African was brought to Virginia.“ I think that we have got to address that again. It’s back to the inequities,” Harris said during in an interview with The Breakfast Club radio show. “America has a history of slavery. We had Jim Crow. We had legal segregation in America for a very long time,” she said.
Harris continued:
“We have got to recognize, back to that earlier point, people aren’t starting out on the same base in terms of their ability to succeed and so we have got to recognize that and give people a lift up.”
When she told the radio show’s host, Charlamagne Tha God, that “Livable Incomes for Families Today,” the Middle Class Act tax cut plan is one way to address the rising costs and the inequities of living in the U.S., the host asked if her comments were about reparations. “Yes,” Harris said.
She also noted the “systemic racism” in the criminal justice system .“We have a problem with mass incarceration in particular of black and brown men,” Harris said. “There is no question that no mother or father in America should have to sit down when their son turns 12 and start having the talk with that child about how he may be stopped, arrested or killed because of the color of his skin,” she said, addressing police brutality.
Warren also said she supported reparations for both African Americans and Native Americans. “America has an ugly history of racism,” Warren said after addressing Democrats at an annual state dinner in New Hampshire, according to The Boston Globe. “We need to confront it head-on. And we need to talk about the right way to address it and make change.”
Warren later expanded on her ideas for Native American reparations in a statement, writing that, “tribal nations have unique interests, priorities and histories, and should not be treated monolithically.”
“I fully support the federal government doing far more to live up to its existing trust and treaty responsibilities and that includes a robust discussion about historical injustices against Native people.”
She continued: “Tribal nations have a government-to-government relationship with the federal government, and they deserve a seat at the table in all decisions that will affect the well-being of their people and their communities.”
Another Democratic Presidential hopeful, Julian Castro, also has said he endorses reparations.
A 2017 article in Quartz, noted that to “repair this breach, it’s becoming increasingly clear that reparations for black slavery and its legacy—including Jim Crow—must be part of the equation.”
The article continued:
“Facing what activist Randall Robinson calls ‘the debt’ to people of African descent, those of us who are low on melanin content (aka ‘white’) will have to address the often uncomfortable history of how lighter skin color conferred, and continues to confer, economic advantage. To do otherwise is to live a destructive lie, perpetuating a perverted myth of deservedness that holds back our entire society and each of us individually.”
As Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote in his groundbreaking 2014 Atlantic article, reparations are “the price we must pay to see ourselves squarely.”
“Reparations,” he continued, “beckons us to reject the intoxication of hubris and see America as it is—the work of fallible humans. An America that looks away is ignoring not just the sins of the past but the sins of the present and the certain sins of the futureCoates said.

Early Civil Rights Movement in Greene County led boycott of local merchants

Sam Rice


The Greene County Civil Rights Movement, whose early participants were the young people from the three schools, Carver High, Greene County Training and Eatman Jr. High, can boast of a significant achievement – the successful boycott of local merchants. In many of the accounts of these young militants, they talk about how devastating it was to witness how grown folk were treated by the white merchants. Blacks in professional and non-professional areas were all treated with disrespect and intimidation.
Sam Rice, who was in the senior class of 1965 at Carver High School, and one of the student activists, said that young people were tired of what their parents and grandparents had to go through just to survive on a daily basis. “My grandmother, who raised me, would give me a note to take to Jimmie Jones’ son at their store and the note read Dear Mr. Jones, please send me a sack of flour and neck bones. I will pay when I get my check,” recounted Mr. Rice. “This kind of humiliation became an incentive for the young people,” he said.
In continuing his story, Sam Rice said the students made picket signs, marched into town and entered the white owned cafes seeking service and were denied. In consultation with their SCLC and SNCC organizers, the youth activists implemented a boycott of all the local merchants. Rice explained that the community organized to take people to shop in Tuscaloosa. He said his father, who worked for Morgan Cross Car Dealership, was one who used his vehicle to take people shopping. Sam said Cross told his father to take his children out of the movement. “My father refused and in August of 1965, my Dad was arrested and put in prison in Montgomery for an entire year. We never knew what he was charged with,” Sam remembered.
Sam recounted that when it was known that he was also helping to drive Black people to Tuscaloosa to shop, his driver’s license was taken away in 1965 and he was not able to get it reinstated until 1973.

“I just continued to drive without a valid driver’s license,” he said.
In his story Sam tells of the sadness in the community when people were put out of their homes and off the land because their children were in the movement. “Sometimes the families were sharecroppers and did not own the land, but had no where to go, and just piled in with other relatives. Sometimes, the families owned the property they were on and it was still taken from them. The Movement hurt and helped at the same time,” he stated.
Sam Rice stated: “ I knew when I left Greene County I would not come back here to live.” He is currently a trucker, residing with his wife Sharon in Montgomery. He is an active member and Deacon at Weeping Willow Missionary Baptist Church in Montgomery.
From an earlier account of young people in the Greene County Movement, Luther Winn, II gave his summary of the local merchants system. “There were only about four merchants in Eutaw. All city workers were supposed to shop at Mayor Tuck’s store. Everyone who worked for the Board of Education was supposed to shop with Jimmie Jones’ store. Sometimes their paychecks were given to them at the store. All county workers were supposed to shop at Herndon’s store, The Corner Store, and all the people on welfare were supposed to shop with Norm Davenport.
“ So people were accustomed to shopping in town and the white merchants, after the boycott started, would slip groceries to certain Black folk’s home. If we found out about this, we would go at night and paint white crosses on their homes so everyone would know they were breaking the boycott,” Mr. Winn stated.
“It’s ironic now that most of the people who were the most active in the movement in those early days never really got anything out of it,” Winn said.

Presidential Candidates and Civil Rights leaders will also attend Secretary Hillary Clinton to participate in Selma’s 27th Annual Bridge Crossing Jubilee

Ashley Bell (3rd from Left) Small Business Administration Region 4 (8 Southeastern states) Administrator with Drum Major for Justice Award presented at Sunday’s Jimmie Lee Jackson Day program in Marion, Alabama. With him in the photo are his family and Albert Turner Jr. and other officials of the Perry County Civic League. The Jimmy Lee Jackson programs marks the beginning of the 54th Selma Bridge Crossing Commemorations.

Montgomery, AL – Secretary Hillary Clinton, the former United States First Lady, United States Senator and United States Secretary of State and the first woman to be a major party nominee for President, of the United States, is headlining the 2019 Selma Bridge Crossing Jubilee and announcing her support for the national initiative, Lift Our Vote 2020. The Jubilee begins Thursday, February 28, 2019 and continues through Monday, March 4th.Secretary Clinton will receive the International Unity Award and be inducted into the National Voting Rights Museum Women’s Hall of Fame. She will speak at the Martin and Coretta King Unity Breakfast on the Wallace Community College Selma campus at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday, March 3rd. She will also speak at the Historic Brown Chapel AME Church and participate in the Bloody Sunday March. Secretary Clinton has previously participated in the Bridge Crossing Jubilee and the March. She will address the Lift Our Vote 2020 Initiative at various events during the Jubilee.
Members of the Selma-to-Montgomery March Foundation and the Bridge Crossing Jubilee and other leaders made the announcement last week at a press conference in the State House in Montgomery. At a subsequent press conference this week in Selma, leaders of the Bridge Crossing Jubilee announced that Democratic Presidential nominees, Julian Castro, former Secretary of HUD and Mayor of San Antonio, Texas; and U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, will also be attending the Jubilee. Others will be released as they confirm in writing or as they announce their participation.
Attorney Faya Rose Toure said: “The Bridge Crossing Jubilee, commonly called Jubilee, has 40-50 events every year, including but not at limited to: an Old Fashioned Mass Meeting on Thursday night; children activities, workshops, The Jubilee Mock Trial and A Public Conversation on Friday; the Ministers and Elected Officials Breakfast, Voting Rights work sessions, other workshops, inductions into multiple halls of fames and the Freedom Flame Awards Banquet on Saturday; the Martin and Coretta King Unity Breakfast, church services, the Bloody Sunday Rally and March, commemoration of 400 years of slavery in what became the United States of America and the After The March Gospel Program on Sunday. These are just a few of the 40-50 annual events.”
Among other national leaders` who plan to attend the Bridge Crossing Jubilee are:
Civil Rights Leaders – Dr. William Barber, Co-chair of the Poor Peoples Campaign and leader of Repairer of the Breach; Reverend Jesse Jackson of Rainbow PUSH; and SCLC National President Charles Steele, Martin Luther King, III, and Rev. Bernice King.
Special National Participants – Susan Taylor, former the Editor of Essence Magazine; Hank Aaron, Baseball Great; Roland Martin, National Media Personality; Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner, who was killed in New York; and Reverend Mark Thompson, SiriusXM Satellite Radio Host and television personality. All these persons and more will appear at the Freedom Flame Awards.
Former State Senator Hank Sanders, who served in the Alabama Senate for 35 years, said: “This will be a great Jubilee with Secretary Hillary Clinton, the kickoff of the national Lift Our Vote 2020 Initiative, a number of presidential candidates coming to speak, and various other powerful speakers and so many events. It could be one of the best of the many great Jubilees. The Jubilee brings tens of thousands from around the country and across the world each year, and the 27th Anniversary will as well.”
Toure, the founder and coordinator of the Bridge Crossing Jubilee said, “We celebrate the victories in voting rights. We memorialize those who died in the struggle for voting rights. We prepare for the voting rights struggles ahead with the nonpartisan Lift Our Vote 2020 Initiative. The Jubilee covers so much and does so much.”
The Jubilee will be providing additional information about other speakers and events in the coming days. For more information contact: www.selmajubilee.com or call 334/526-2626.