Reese to deliver talk at First Baptist Sunday

Published 9:25pm Friday, March 4, 2011

First Baptist Church of Selma will host the Rev. F.D. Reese as its guest speaker in the pulpit for the church’s annual Bloody Sunday commemoration service.

The service begins at 11 a.m.

“Dr. Reese led and/or coordinated numerous marches, demonstrations in Selma, causing attention to be focused on the injustice of African American citizens,” said Warren “Billy” Young, esquire, vice chairman of the board of deacons for First Baptist.

As Selma’s local leader in the movement, Reese signed the invitation to officially invite the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to come to Selma and Dallas County to assist in the struggle for the right to vote, Young said. In her newly released book, “The House by the Side of the Road,” Jean Jackson writes the efforts of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee had not made many inroads into having more African-Americans registered to vote.

“Mindful of the success the SCLC was having in Montgomery, Birmingham, and other areas, Reverend Reese and other began thinking SCLC could make a difference around Selma,” she writes. The Rev. C.T. Vivian came in at the request of the Dallas County Voters’ League and lead some discussions.

Although Reese never joined the SCLC, Jackson says he “was always a vital part of the ‘Selma movement.’” His influence has been so great, the 3-mile stretch of U.S. Hwy. 80 E beginning at the Edmund Pettus Bridge is known as the Frederick D. Reese Parkway.

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