8 June 2008.
Those who defied segregation risked their lives, such as civil rights activist Jonathan Daniels, killed in broad daylight. Despite death threats, Ruby Sales testified at the trial; but the all-white jury found the killer, Tom Coleman, not guilty.
I was a 16-year-old student at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. After the terrible beating of the people in Selma on Bloody Sunday [in March 1965], we felt we wanted to make our own statement. About a thousand of us marched to Montgomery and had a sit-in. We were hemmed in for a day and a night, surrounded by dogs and by very menacing white vigilantes who called themselves policemen. For the first time, I saw people resisting police in a non-violent way. That was the turning point in my life: I became part of the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee [SNCC].
Young people from the town of Fort Deposit had begun to organise themselves around the exploitation of their parents as sharecroppers, and asked us to join their demonstration. When we got there, a mob of white men was waiting. Then the city came with a garbage truck. They put us in it along with the garbage and took us to prison. We were refused bail and kept in jail for seven days. Suddenly they ordered us to leave. We left with great trepidation and I walked to the corner grocery with Father Richard Morrisroe and Jonathan Daniels. A white man, Tom Coleman, was standing in the doorway with a shotgun. He hurled obscenities at us. He told me he would blow my brains out. Jonathan pulled me back in an attempt to protect me. In that instant, he got shot. Then there was another shot, and Father Morrisroe fell. They made him ride to the hospital in a hearse on top of Jonathan’s dead body.
Google Doodle honors unsung civil rights leader Dorothy Height: here.