Pilgrimage for Daniels

Published 9:02 pm Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A pilgrimage honoring the life and work of Jonathan Myrick Daniels begins Saturday here.

Daniels was an Episcopal seminarian who answered the call of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to help register African-American voters in Alabama. He was shot and killed on Aug. 20, 1965, while shielding then-16-year-old Ruby Sales from a shotgun blast as she attempted to enter a store to buy something to drink.

Daniels was added to the Episcopal Church Calendar of Saints and Martyrs in 1994 to be remembered each Aug. 14.

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The pilgrimage begins at 11 a.m. at the courthouse square in Hayneville. The procession will go to the old county jail where Daniels and Sales were among those detained for a week. The procession will continue to the old Cash Grocery Store where Daniels was killed.

The pilgrimage will end at the courthouse, where a service of Holy Communion will take place in the courtroom.

Also at the courtroom, a descendent of one of the largest slave-trading families in American history and his wife, a descendent of North Carolina slaves, — Dain and Constance Perry — will be the featured speakers.

Friday evening, the Perrys will host a screening of the documentary, “Traces of the Trade: A Story of the Deep North,” in which Perry and nine cousins discover and retrace their New England ancestor’s involvement in the slave trade. The screening is set for the courthouse in Hanyeville at 7 p.m. The Emmy Award-nominated documentary premiered on PBS in 2008.