Posted by: palmettoislandgirl | January 20, 2015

Child of the Movement: Surrounded by Local Leaders

One of Dr. King's visits to my hometown of Orangeburg SC.

One of Dr. King’s visits to my hometown of Orangeburg SC.

King Jr. Day – Civil rights leader revived efforts with Orangeburg visits

This article from my hometown newspaper, The Times and Democrat, reminded me of what it was like growing up in a town with so many local leaders and just ‘regular folk’ involved in the civil rights movement. As a kid I was surrounded by people involved in the civil rights movement. Meetings at my home church, Trinity United Methodist where my great-grandfather I.H. Fulton and great-uncle Alonzo G. Townsend both served as pastor and where many in my family were members. Speakers at both SC State and Claflin Universities encouraging students and local   citizens in their efforts. Local community leaders like Rev. J.W. Curry, Rev. McCollum, and others led prayer vigils on the town square, students marching and protesting.

 

This was life in Orangeburg in the 1960’s. In ’68 there was what has come to be called, ‘The Orangeburg Massacre’. There were many turbulent events, the National Guard summoned and posted near black neighborhoods, curfews, tanks, no school for a while after the murders. I didn’t quite understand the importance of all that then but over the years as I’ve been more involved in the adult conversations about these important bits of history, it has become clear what all those people who were a part of my upbringing, who were members of my church and teachers in my school, and my neighbors were doing and what was so important to them. They were making history, working for change and providing living examples to me even when I wasn’t paying attention. As a result of this I have such a great appreciation for that movement and those since. I appreciate every meeting my parents took my brother and I to attend at church or on either college campus even though at the time we didn’t really want to go. The voices of the people singing together, “We shall overcome”, and “We Shall not be Moved”. I appreciate the family discussions. Newspaper clippings saved by my grandmother. Photographs of the movement taken by my dad’s friend Mr.Cecil Williams. What a heritage and legacy, my brother and our friends who share the experience have been given! We were privileged indeed, even though we my not have appreciated or even sensed it then.   I hope I have passed on this legacy to my five children and that they are listening to the stories shared by their grandparents and other family members who experienced the movement.  Lessons learned from these local leaders can only serve as stepping-stones as they begin to participate in current movements.  Listen well and learn from those who have gone before.     ‪#‎Orbgmovementleaders ‬ #‎childofthemovement  

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