Civil Rights foot soldier speaks of march with Dr. King

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Selma Times-Journal

The Rev. Dr. Frederick Douglass Reese has a lot in common with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Besides being born the same year, 1929, both spent time pastoring an Ebenezer Baptist Church &8212; King in Atlanta, Reese in Selma.

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During the height of the civil rights movement, Reese was a teacher, and King, a pastor, two of the most highly respected professions in the black community.

Reese was a local leader in the Selma movement. He was elected president of the Selma City Teachers&8217; Association, and also president of the Dallas County Voters&8217; League.

In those positions, Reese led marches in Selma, with more than 100 teachers involved in the community.

As one of &8220;The Courageous Eight,&8221; the steering committee for the Dallas County Voter&8217;s League, Reese held meetings in churches and offices in Selma to keep the fire burning for the desire of minorities gaining the right to register to vote.

He worked to enlist as many adults as possible to go out to the county courthouse and file an application to become a registered voter.

Reese supported non-violence, even as Jim Clark &8212;whom Reese described as vicious &8212; and his posse used cattle prods with electric current in them and billy clubs on march participants.

After the first, unsuccessful march from Selma to Montgomery, Reese said the marchers, battered and bleeding, retreated and convened at Brown Chapel AME Church.

King sent a call out to the nation, Reese said, and people responded.