Today is MLK’s Birthday

imageimageimageimageIt is observed tomorrow, but the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, an American hero, was born on this day in 1929. On this important anniversary we at the UUFG honored King with a service dedicated to civil rights. Dr. Zohara Simmons, a veteran of the 1965 March in Selma, and Esther Wallace spoke. They both received standing ovations.

After the service, we had a discussion about the move “Selma” which a group of us saw yesterday. Several in the discussion group, including Dr. Zohara Simmons, who led the discussion, were veterans of the sixties civil rights movement. They thought all the portrayals of the African-American marchers were spot on save that of James Forman, who was portrayed by a man much younger than he was. He was a member of the SCLC and was older than many of the other marchers.

The film was also praised for portraying many African-American women who were in the movement, but faulted for not showing them speaking. Dr. Simmons stressed the importance of Annie Cooper, the woman portrayed powerfully by Oprah Winfrey. Cooper bravely tried to register to vote and was jailed for punching the sheriff. She lived to be 100. Simmons also pointed out that Amelia Boynton, portrayed powerfully by Lorraine Toussaint, is now 103 and still has a sharp mind.

A civil rights veterans who was at UF in the ’60s pointed out that a march occurred in St. Augustine in 1964. Those marchers were also beaten up by police. When the city celebrated it 400th anniversary in 1965, activists  tried to remind people of what had happen the year before.