This morning, the members of the Civil Rights Pilgrimage attended the Robert Graetz Symposium in Montgomery, Alabama. The setting was historic – the 1st Baptist Church once pastored by Reverend Ralph Abernathy.
The speaker was Bernard Lafayette. It is difficult to exaggerate Dr. Lafayette’s influence in the civil rights movement. He was an original member of the Nashville Movement and of the Freedom Riders (see The Children by David Halberstam). As a member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, he was “first on the ground” in the Selma Voting Rights drive (see Black in Selma by J.L. Chestnut). As an assistant to Dr. Martin Luther King, he was a coordinator of the Poor People’s March in 1968.
Dr. Lafayette was a “maker of history” whose career as an activist and educator is now in its sixth decade.