Selma mourns the loss of two outstanding citizens

Published 8:53 pm Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Dear editor,

On Saturday, April 10, my family members praised God for keeping our dear mother in good health to see her 88th birthday. Our rejoicing was tempered by the news that two of Dallas/Selma’s fine citizens had died.

I did not personally know Dr. Geraldine Allen, but I have heard many good things about her. It is my prayer that God will give comfort to her family and to the city of Selma during our hour of bereavement.

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I was Mr. Paul Oliver’s pastor for more than a decade. He and his lovely wife, Fannie, ranked among the best members I’ve served during my 35 years of Christian ministry. Mr. Oliver served his country and county in an exemplary fashion. Heaven’s gain is surely our loss.

I was unaware of the passing of Mrs. Earlene Lett until after her funeral. Mrs. Lett served as an efficacious example of ebony excellence, demanding no less of her children and other students in life than to reach their full potential.

I have met many citizens in Selma and Dallas County who have excelled far beyond the limits imposed on them by their circumstances. They marched to a cadence that others could not hear, played by a drummer that others could not see, while moving to a place that others forbade them to go. True unsung heroes are these who broke glass ceilings without forcing on our ears the poignant sound of the falling glass.

No purple hearts or public places of prominence are reserved for their honor. After all, their constant reaching beyond their grasp was not done to attain the artificial accolades of the custodians of Selma’s specious history. Their reward is the full quiver of achievers whose lives they touched and the God who is ready to give them their non-perishing reward for good and faithful service.

Perhaps their deeds done are not the type that demand a street sign with their names on it; however, those of us who have been touched by their purpose-driven lives should keep their names indelibly etched in our minds.

John Donne declared, “Every man’s death diminishes me, for I am involved in mankind.” This is even so with me.

For the father, who refused to abandon his family to pursue an easier road in life, the woman who worked several jobs to give her children the basic necessities of life, the doctor, lawyer, bus driver, janitor, school teacher, sincere preacher- those whose skulls never felt the crushing blow of a billy club, but who had to face the storms of their vicissitudes, believing that the power that worked within them was far greater than death itself, I declare that we are glad that you, too, left your mighty prints on Selma’s soil. God’s sweet rest is yours now and forever.

Joseph Rembert