Historic Tabernacle Church celebrated 60th Anniversary of First Mass Meeting of Voting Rights Movement

Published 7:38 am Wednesday, May 31, 2023

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The Historic Tabernacle Baptist Church Legacy Foundation, Inc. recently honored the 60th Anniversary of the First Mass Meeting of the 1960s Voting Rights Movement with Dr. Bernard LaFayette, Jr. Day.

LaFayette, who has a street named after him, is   a Freedom Rider, a co-founder of the Student Nonviolence Coordinating Committee  and co-organizer of the Voting Rights Movement’s first mass meeting at Tabernacle Baptist Church on May 14, 1963.

Here are the key events that took place:

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May 10:the pre-Dr. Bernard LaFayette, Jr. Day– began with LaFayette teaching non-violence strategies to students and staff at Selma City Schools’ Alternative Learning Center.

LaFayette also taught nonviolence strategies at Tipton Durant Middle School, Ellwood Academy and School of Discovery.

Selma Center for Nonviolence, Truth and Reconciliation; National Voting Rights Museum’ Footsoldier/Attorney Charles Bonner;  Footsoldier Viola Johnson; and Kate LaFayette all were partners in the event,

May 11: Dr. Bernard LaFayette, Jr. Day held the first annual Nonviolence Golf Tournament.  Golfers, volunteers, sponsors and family played  golf and promoted nonviolence at Valley Grande Golf Course

Edgar Brown and Ray Williams won the event. Albert Southall and George Hicks were second. Third Place-Evelyn Evans and Iverson Hobson.

The Longest Drive Winner was Edgar Brown. Closest to Pin winner was Iverson Hobson. 

The Tournament’s  Technical Advisor was the late George Evans, former Selma Mayor

Sponsors were Dr. Charles Steele-Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Mr. Bankole Thompso-The Pulse Institute, Dr. Julie Sams, Selma’s  Pepsi-Cola, Company,  Rural Health,   Regions Bank,  George Evans, First Cahawba Bank,  Children’s Dentistry of Central Alabama, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.-Zeta Eta Omega Chapter, Albert C Bulls Construction, Inc., Summerlin Hardware LLC.

The oldest surviving Foot Soldiers of the Voting Rights Act movement, John Pettaway and George Sallie, were honored.

The Selma Center for Nonviolence, Truth, and Reconciliation gave the 2023 Youth Nonviolence Award to Azali Fortier, who graduated from Ellwood Christian Academy.

Nonviolence training will continue in the 2023-24 school year. Tax-deductible donations should be mailed to Historic Tabernacle Legacy Foundation, P O Box 2344, Selma, AL 36702-2344.