Honoring SNCC in Selma
forusa.org | Mar 10th 2011
I just returned home to New York from Selma, Alabama, where in the midst of a gathering of Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) activists at the annual Edmund Pettus Bridge Crossing, I received a Keeper of the Flame award from my elders.
Here is the press release that was issued by the event organizers prior to the weekend, which honored the 46th anniversary of the historic March 7, 1965 march in Selma:
The Bridge Crossing Jubilee, Inc. and the National Voting Rights Museum and Institute (NVRMI) are pleased to announce the 2011 Freedom Flame Award honorees at the annual Bridge Crossing Jubilee. The Jubilee commemorates *Bloody Sunday, *the day that Alabama law enforcement officers attacked peaceful marchers for the right to vote on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, and celebrates the Voting Rights Movement and the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
In keeping with the 2011 Jubilee theme, “Celebrating Our Youth and the Spirit of SNCC,” the Jubilee will honor some of the giants of the Voting Rights Movement who worked with SNCC.
Chief among them are Marion Barry who was the first Chairman of SNCC; Lawrence Guyot who served as Chairman of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party and directed the Hattiesburg, Mississippi Freedom Summer Project; Robert Moses who directed SNCC’s Mississippi Project and the Council of Federated Organizations, an umbrella organization for the major civil rights groups in Mississippi, and he founded the Algebra Project; John Perdew, a SNCC worker in Georgia spent three months in jail with three others, charged with a capital crime, inciting to insurrection, and he is the author, Education of a Harvard Guy: Footsoldier in the Civil Rights Movement; Ruby Sales, who was a student worker with SNCC and was with Jonathan Daniels when he was killed in Lowndes County, and Silas Norman who first came to Selma in June of 1964 as a member of the Selma Literacy Project and facilitated Malcolm X’s visit to Selma in early 1965.
Mr. and Mrs. Dick Gregory and Afemo and Elisabeth Omilani will be honored with the Passion of the Flame Award (the Couple of the Flame). Elisabeth Omilani is Hosea Williams’ daughter, and she is carrying on the legacy of her father.
Six SNCC Freedom Singers, three from the original group along with song leaders will perform including Charles “Chuck” Neblett, a Freedom Flame Award honoree and Bernice Johnson Reagon, founder of Sweet Honey and the Rock, whose works as a cultural scholar have documented the crucial importance of freedom songs and the role of singing in the Movement.
Two young people will receive the Keeper of the Flame Award including Mutulu Olugbala and Rev. Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou. Olugbala is a rapper and is known for his stage name M1. He is an activist and author known for his work as one half of the political hip hop duo Dead Prez. His first solo album Confidential was followed by the album Can’t Sell Dope Forever by Dead Prez/Outlawz. He had many cameos in Dave Chappelle’s Show comedy sketches. He continues to be involved in a number of humanitarian efforts.
Rev. Sekou is considered one of the foremost young religious leaders of his generation. He authored the critically acclaimed UrbanSouls, which takes a refreshing look at the spiritual crisis confronting America. Princeton Professor of Religion Cornel West who wrote the introduction says, “Rev. Sekou has the most in depth and concise analysis of youth that I have ever heard.” He is also the author of the forthcoming (2011), Gods, Gays, and Guns: Religion and the Future of Democracy. Recognizing his distinguished work as public scholar, the Institute for Policy Studies-the nation’s oldest multi-issue progressive think tank in Washington, D.C. appointed Rev. Sekou as the first Associate Fellow in Religion and Justice.
Rev. Sekou preaching in Selma ALOn Sunday, March 6, at the Beloved Community Church of Selma, Rev. Sekou will deliver a important sermon weaving the inter-connection between the environment, the Earth and the next stage of our struggle. The Beloved Community Church of Selma is located at 11 Hwy East (at the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge). [Ed. Note: photo at left of Rev. Sekou preaching in Selma taken on March 6, 2011, by Robert Kenner.]
Jubilee sponsors are the National Voting Rights Museum and Institute, the City of Selma, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Wallace Community College, The Bridge Crossing Jubilee, Inc., and American Airlines.
My sense of calling is deepened and I am affirmed by their faith in me. My committment to them is to resurrect a dead prophetic church.
Original Page: http://forusa.org/blogs/osagyefo-uhuru-sekou/honoring-sncc-selma/8605
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