Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church to host Courageous Free Thinkers Celebration

Published 10:43 am Wednesday, February 27, 2019

The fifth annual Courageous Free Thinkers Celebration will be held at Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church this weekend.

Events will be held Saturday and Sunday. The Selma-Dallas County Friends of the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail Association (Selma Friends) worked with Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church to put together the event.

The Courageous Free Thinkers Celebration consists of three events: Free Thinkers reception, Free Thinkers forum and Free Thinkers Church Service.

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The Free Thinkers reception takes place at 5 p.m. on Saturday The Free Thinkers forum will follow at 6 p.m. Topic for the Free Think Forum is “Pathway from Pre-K to career.”

Alabama State University President and State Senator Dr. Quinton T. Ross Jr. will be the guest speaker at the Free Thinkers Church Service at 9 a.m. Sunday.

Ebenezer Baptist Pastor and former Selma Mayor James Perkins said it’s an honor for the church to host the event.

The Courageous Free Thinkers celebration honors the eight citizens who served as officers in the Dallas County voters league and organized a voting rights movement in Selma before Blood Sunday on March 7, 1965.

Ulysses Blackmon, Amelia Boynton-Robinson, Earnest L. Doyle, Marie Foster, James Edward Gildersleeve, J.D. Hunter, F.D. Reese, and Henry W. Shannon are known as “The Courageous Eight.”

Selma Friends Chairman Charles Johnson it’s always important to remind local residents about the National Voting Rights act forever changed history.

“The history of the voting rights movement will be forever challenged and controversial,” Johnson said. “It is imperative that efforts to ensure its correctness must never end. Our goal is to ensure that the story gets told consistently and correctly.”

Political Communications Specialist Collins Pettaway III said the event offers a variety of historic topics.

“Selma is full of so many unsung heroes,” Pettaway said. “To be able to recognize and celebrate them all, while bringing awareness to so many issues plaguing our communities is priceless. I am looking forward to the forum on Saturday most of all.

“We will have representatives from the realms of education, workforce career, and even military personnel. This will allow students and interested persons to not only hear from experienced people in their fields but also learn how they can also get involved as well. It’s all about the community and to have this event take place free of charge is everything.”