Street renamed to honor Dr. F.D. ReesePublished 7:58pm Monday, November 11, 2013
A Selma street sign was renamed to honor a key leader in the voting rights movement in Selma was unveiled Sunday afternoon.
More than a hundred people gathered at Ebenezer Missionary Church Sunday to celebrate Dr. Fredrick Douglas Reese as a part of the street renaming celebration and ceremony. The city council recently approved the renaming of Legrande Street to Dr. F.D. Reese Street to honor Reese for his role in the Voting Rights Movement in Selma.
“I feel as if it’s a great honor for a street to be named after me,” Reese said. “I don’t think I deserve all of this.”
Reese served as the president of the Dallas County Voters League. He led and coordinated several marches and demonstrations meant to bring attention to the injustice of African Americans in Selma.
As Selma’s local leader, Reese signed the invitation for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Southern Christian Leadership Conference to visit Selma and Dallas County and assist in fight for voting rights.
Reese, who is the pastor of the Ebenezer Missionary Church, located on the corner of Dr. F.D. Reese Street and Philpot Avenue, said God is the reason he was able to accomplish so much in the face the racial discrimination.
“Having gone through different kinds of adversity and being a part of a discriminatory state, I trust in God for everything,” he said. “I give all the credit to Him.”
Althelstein Johnson, who was born and raised in Selma, attended the ceremony to support the man who married her and her husband Deacon 46 years ago.
“He’s a great leader,” Johnson said. “He’s someone all the youth should look up to and know about.”
She said there is a generational gap between when Reese did his work and the current generation.
“The naming of the street is a way of perpetuating a legacy that was begun before our present generation was born, and they are lacking that understanding,” she said. “They are lacking that information.”
Johnson said the renaming of the street should spark an important conversation among today’s generation about the history of Selma.
“The naming of that sign will cause people to ask why, and that will give people the chance to tell the story,” she said.
Her husband, Charles, chairman of the board of deacons at Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church expressed his appreciation for Reese during the ceremony.
“During the past nearly 50 years that I have the occasion to serve with him, I have never ever known him to be verbose, or cause attention, or ask for any special favors,” Charles said. “He always tried to encourage everybody to do what he felt they should do.”