20th annual Civil Rights Pilgrimage set for Aug. 13 in Hayneville

Published 10:46 am Thursday, August 4, 2016

Special to the Signal

The 20th Annual Jonathan Daniels and Martyrs of Alabama Pilgrimage is scheduled for Hayneville, Saturday, Aug. 13.

Sponsored by the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama, the civil rights pilgrimage honors the life and sacrifice of human rights advocate and Episcopal seminarian Daniels, and others who were killed during the bloody 1960’s struggle for civil rights in Alabama.

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The Rev. Bob Graves, who attended Virginia Military Institute with Daniels will participate in this year’s pilgrimage.

Graves an Episcopal priest presently serving with the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast, was a sophomore at VMI when Daniels was a freshman.  He and Daniels served together on the VMI Religious Council.  Graves has served Episcopal churches in Virginia, West Virginia, Florida and Alabama, during 53 years of ministry.

The keynote speaker this year will be the Rt. Rev. Santosh Marray, bishop-elect of the Episcopal Diocese of Easton and present assistant bishop of the Diocese of Alabama.

“Spiritual pilgrimages, especially this one commemorating Jonathan Daniels and the other Martyrs of Alabama, serves as a reminder for us of those whose sacrificed their lives for basic civil rights,” said the Rev. Deacon Carolyn Foster, co-chair of the Commission on Race Relations.

In 1965, Daniels answered the call of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to help register African-American voters in Alabama. The white seminary student was shot and killed on Aug. 20, 1965, while shielding then 16-year-old Ruby Sales, who is black, from a shotgun blast as she attempted to enter a store to buy something to drink. Daniels was added to the Episcopal Church Calendar of Saints and Martyrs in 1994 to be remembered each Aug. 14.

The pilgrimage begins in the Courthouse Square in Hayneville at 11 a.m. The procession will go to the old county jail where Daniels was among a number of civil rights workers detained for a week after being arrested in Ft. Deposit for picketing whites-only businesses.  The procession will then move to the site of the old Cash Grocery Store where Daniels was gunned down.  The pilgrimage will end at the Lowndes County Courthouse where a service of Holy Communion will take place in the courtroom where the man who killed Daniels was tried and acquitted by an all-white jury of men.

Following the service, lunch will be available for purchase from vendors on the first floor and outside the courthouse. Commemorative t-shirts will also be available for purchase.

This year, the City of Hayneville plans to open the jail where Daniels was held to visitors.

A tent equipped with television monitor and fans will be set up in the in the courthouse square in the event of an overflow crowd.

This year, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Selma will host a Young Pilgrims Lock-in Aug. 12. The lock-in will begin at 6 p.m. with dinner, fellowship, a program and worship.

Saturday morning the group will walk across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, site of the 1965 “Bloody Sunday” attack by police on civil rights demonstrators attempting to march to the state capital of Montgomery. National television coverage of that event drew Jonathan Daniels to Alabama.

Following the bridge crossing, the group will travel to Hayneville for breakfast hosted by Lowndes County School Superintendent Dr. Daniel Boyd, and will take part in the Jonathan Daniels Pilgrimage.

For additional information about the pilgrimage, contact the Rev. Deacon Carolyn Foster at 205-434-1442.