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Council declares March 15 ‘F.D. Reese Day’

At Tuesday evening’s Selma City Council meeting, the council unanimously declared that, from now on, March 15 will be celebrated as “F.D. Reese Day” in Selma.

Dr. Fredrick Douglas Reese, who passed away in 2018 at the age of 88, was a Civil Rights Icon who, as a member of the “Courageous Eight”, played a key role in inviting Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to Selma to join the fight to ensure equal voting rights for all.

The works of Reese and his peers led to the Selma to Montgomery marches and, eventually, the passing of the Voting Rights act of 1965.

Reese, born and raised in Selma, was an influential educator and pastor within the community.

The idea to designate March 15 F.D. Reese Day originated from Selma City Councilwoman Lesia James at the January 26 Selma City Council meeting.

“This is probably one of the biggest announcement I will ever make on the Selma City Council,” said James when she first proposed the idea last month

“Y’all know the contributions that Dr. F.D. Reese has not only made to the Selma community but to the entire world,” said Selma City Council President Billy Young. “We thank you, Councilwoman James, for leading this effort.”

City of Selma Mayor James Perkins, Jr. said he was “hippopotamus happy” and “peacock proud” to sign the proposal.

“This is a special day,” he said. “And long overdue.”

In 2013, The Selma City Council renamed Legrande Street in honor of Reese.

“I feel as if it’s a great honor for a street to be named after me,” Reese said at the time. “I don’t think I deserve all of this.”