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First Hand from Selma

Posted by T. Resnikoff // January 15th 2014 // Events and Opportunities, Guides and Tools // one comment

Read history from Selma. Make history in Raleigh.

Mass_Moral_March_logo-artReverend Richard Leonard marched by his side when Dr. Martin Luther King called him and other clergy to join the struggle for voting rights in Selma, Alabama. More than 200 Unitarian Universalists responded. It was 1965. That battle was won with passage of the Civil Rights Voting Act of 1965.


Read Rev. Leonard’s first-hand account, including his photos from the Selma marches, Call to Selma: Eighteen Days of Witness, available as an e-book, here.

The telegram from Dr. Martin Luther King that ultimately inspired Reverend Richard Leonard, the UUA Board of Trustees and more than 200 other Unitarian Universalist laypeople and clergy to go to Selma, Alabama:

Telegram from Dr. Martin Luther King asking Rev, Richard Nash and 1st Unitarian Chicago for support. The call was answered.

Telegram from Dr. Martin Luther King asking Rev, Richard Nash and 1st Unitarian Chicago for support. The call was answered.


In the vicious maltreatment of defenseless citizens of Selma, where old women and young children were gassed and clubbed at random, we have witnessed an eruption of the disease of racism which seeks to destroy all America. No American is without responsibility. The people of Selma will struggle on for the soul of the nation but it is fitting that all Americans help to bear the burden. I call therefore on clergy of all faiths to join me in Selma.

—Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., telegram, March 8, 1965


Marching to Selma changed history – and was a defining moment for Unitarian Universalism as a force for progressive change. On February 8, 2014 we are called again, this time to the Mass Moral March in Raleigh, NC to publicly witness for equality and  fairness in many forms:

– economic sustainability, alleviating poverty and expanding labor rights for all;

– fully-funded constitutional public education;

– healthcare for all, protecting medicaid, medicare, social security, and the Affordable Care Act;

– addressing disparities in the criminal justice system and the policy of Mass Incarceration;

– protecting and expanding voting rights and civil rights that, though won in 1965, are under attack



Purchase Reverend Richard Leonard’s first-hand account – including eye-witness accounts from other Unitarian Universalists who answered the call to Selma, foreward by former UUA President Bill Sinkford and the telegrams from Dr. Martin Luther King calling for support.


About the Author

Ted Resnikoff is the Digital Communications Editor at the Unitarian Universalist Association.
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