The Capitol of Democracy

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 3, 2005

The Selma times-Journal

Standing in the pulpit of Brown Chapel A.M.E. Church, the Rev. James Bevel gave a fiery sermon Wednesday night about the need for atonement in order to create a better community.

Bevel, a prominent leader in the Civil Rights Movement, led the worship service that served as the kick off for a conference this week focusing on the anniversary of the signing of the Voting Rights Act.

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Bevel preached to an audience of about 30 people, briefly describing his role in the Movement and his new focus of &8220;bringing people to atonement.&8221;

During his speech, Bevel said he wanted to bring &8220;every black man in Alabama&8221; to the Edmund Pettus Bridge on Oct. 16, where they will ask for forgiveness of their sins and then go forward as a better man.

Bevel also said that Selma should be known as the &8220;capitol of democracy&8221; because the &8220;city used constitutional democracy to defeat tyranny&8221; during the Civil Rights Movement.

Bevel ended his nearly hour-long sermon by giving a powerful reading of President Johnson’s speech on the day he introduced the Voting Rights Act to Congress.

In addition to Bevel, the Rev. James Jackson, pastor of Brown Chapel, also recalled how his life was affected by the Voting Rights Act.

Selma City Councilwoman Jannie Venter also spoke about the impact of the Voting Rights Act.

The first official day of the National Conference Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act begins today at Concordia College. After a greeting from Concordia President Dr. Julius Jenkins and a city official, Nancy Worley, Alabama Secretary of State will speak.