SCLC and The Freedom Foundation join forces

Published 11:56 am Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke about a beloved community. The Rev. Franklin Fortier wants to join forces with the Rev. Mark Duke to create that community in Selma.

Fortier, who leads the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Selma, announced the intentions of the bond Monday in a press conference at the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

“The beloved community is the framework for the future,” Fortier said.

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Speaking into a bullhorn, he said the group would join against acts of hate in Selma.

The announcement, attended by about 25 people, followed a meeting Sunday night in which about 150 people heard the call for action against what Fortier labeled as “destructive forces.”

Duke, who leads The Freedom Foundation, spoke at both gatherings. He talked about his organization’s work to being the beloved community of brotherhood, using examples of the rehabilitation of the Tepper’s building downtown and volunteers painting school classrooms at Selma High School this week.

Duke has said some people are against the work. He cited a Web site, which has “hate speech” on it.

Duke encouraged people to join in the volunteerism in the spirit of “the beloved community.”

Fortier read a resolution to be signed by local ministers, leaders and others calling for the SCLC and Freedom Foundation to join together against hate in the footsteps of King.

He also said the SCLC would help the Freedom Foundation restore the Tepper’s building to commemorate the contribution of the SCLC in the voting rights struggle in Selma.