Sharpton to speak at Brown Chapel

Published 11:00 pm Friday, March 6, 2015

By Blake Deshazo

The Selma Times-Journal

This Sunday will be unlike any other Selma has experienced in 50 years, as ten of thousands of visitors will help the city commemorate Bloody Sunday and the Selma to Montgomery marches.

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To honor what took place 50 years ago, many area churches have made plans for special worship services for Sunday, March 8.

First Baptist, Tabernacle and Brown Chapel AME are among the many churches in Selma scheduled to commemorate the anniversary.

Each church will welcome special guests into its congregation Sunday to reflect on what happened in 1965 and pay homage to those who marched for equal voting rights and gave their lives to change history.

The Rev. Al Sharpton will headline Brown Chapel’s Sunday service with a sermon. Also scheduled to speak are Congresswoman Terri Sewell, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and others.

The church will also hold a special presentation for the families of James Reeb, Viola Liuzzo, Jimmie Lee Jackson and Jonathan Daniels, also known as the Martyrs of the March.

Brown Chapel’s service is scheduled to start at 10:45 a.m., according to the Rev. Leodis Strong.

First Baptist Church’s annual Bloody Sunday worship service will be held Sunday, March 8 at 11 a.m.

In years past, First Baptist has hosted the likes of Hillary Clinton and Bernard Lafayette, but this year the Rev. Frederick Hardy wanted to change things up with a different kind of speaker.

“We wanted to provide and show that there is a change in our city and in our church, and I wanted to get a speaker that’s able to reach our younger generation here,” Hardy said. “For so many years we have had political speakers that are quite older than our young people, and I wanted to get someone that they could relate to that could send a great word and a great message to our city.”

Hardy said he reached out to the Rev. Jamal Bryant, pastor of the Empowerment Temple A.M.E. Church of Baltimore, Md., and he agreed to come to Selma to speak. Bryant is known for appearing on BET’s “Morning Worship” and The Bible Network.

Hardy said the Majestic Voices, a local gospel group, are set to perform during the service as well.

Deval Patrick, former mayor of Boston, is scheduled to speak at Tabernacle Sunday, according to the Rev. Otis Culliver, pastor of Tabernacle. Patrick was mayor of Boston from 2007 until 2015.

Culliver said the church will also recognize the late pastor L.L. Anderson, who opened Tabernacle’s doors to civil rights activists for the first mass meeting, along with Marie Foster and J.D. Hunter, two members of the Courageous Eight that attended Tabernacle.