Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter 7 Share on Facebook 1 Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon Tell A Friend 5 (13 Shares)  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites View Stats   11 comments

    OpEdNews Op Eds

Spirits of Justice Going to Gaza

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 2 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

Well Said 7   Inspiring 6   Valuable 6  
View Ratings | Rate It Headlined to H1 6/26/11

Become a Fan
  (149 fans)

This piece was reprinted by OpEdNews with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

- Advertisement -
From Consortium News

For those who engage in the common struggle for Justice, an invaluable grace comes from getting to know new friends similarly engaged -- and equally willing to speak with more than words.

Thus, it has been a great grace to get to know folks like Alice Walker personally as well as through her writings -- including some new ones.  In one recent article, Alice addressed her reasons for joining the other 49 of us by putting her body on the line in sailing with "The Audacity of Hope," the U.S. boat to Gaza. She wrote:

"There is for me an awareness of paying off a debt to the Jewish civil rights activists who faced death to come to the side of black people in the South in our time of need. I am especially indebted to Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman who heard our calls for help -- our government then as now glacially slow in providing protection to non-violent protestors -- and came to stand with us. 

"They got as far as the truncheons and bullets of a few "good ol' boys' of Neshoba County, Mississippi, and were beaten and shot to death along with James Cheney, a young black man with formidable courage who died with them. So even though our boat will be called "The Audacity of Hope,' it will fly the Goodman, Cheney, Schwerner flag in my own heart." 

As for me, I will be flying in my own heart the flag of Jonathan Daniels, a Danforth Graduate Fellow of 1961, with whom my Fordham '61 college classmate Brian Daley, S.J., author Palmer Parker, and I spent a week of Danforth Fellow orientation on the shore of Lake Michigan in September 1961. Four years later, Jonathan was dead. Here's some of the rest of the story: 

On Aug. 13, 1965, Jonathan Daniels, in a group of 29, went to picket whites-only stores in the small town of Fort Deposit, Alabama. All were arrested and taken to jail in the nearby town of Hayneville. Five juvenile protesters were released the next day. The rest of the group was held for six days; they refused to accept bail unless everyone was bailed. 

Finally, on Aug. 20, the prisoners were released without transport back to Fort Deposit. After release, the group waited by a road near the jail. Jonathan with three others -- a white Catholic priest and two black protesters -- went down the street to get a cold soft drink at Varner's Grocery Store, one of the few local stores that would serve nonwhites.

They were met at the front by Tom L. Coleman, an engineer for the state highway department and unpaid special deputy, who wielded a shotgun. The man threatened the group, and finally leveled his gun at 16-year-old Ruby Sales. Daniels pushed Sales to the ground and caught the full blast of the gun. He was killed instantly.

- Advertisement -

The priest, Richard F. Morrisroe, grabbed the other protester and ran. Coleman shot Morrisroe, wounding him in the lower back. Coleman was subsequently acquitted of manslaughter charges by an all-white jury.

Richmond Flowers, Sr., the then-Attorney General of Alabama, described the verdict as representing the "democratic process going down the drain of irrationality, bigotry and improper law enforcement." 

Coleman died at age 86 on June 13, 1997, without having faced any further prosecution.

Jonathan Daniels, my friend who died way too young, was no stranger to the South. He had lived in Kentucky and Arkansas as a child.  More important, he was educated at Virginia Military Institute, a military college whose history and tradition were inextricably bound with those of the South. He ultimately won the highest tribute from his classmates by being elected valedictorian of his class. 

- Advertisement -

As a Danforth Graduate Fellow, Jon first chose to attend Harvard University to study English literature, but had long felt a desire to enter parish ministry. After a year at Harvard, he was admitted to the Episcopal Theological School. His subsequent involvement with the civil rights movement followed as a logical extension of his beliefs and faith tradition.   

His considerable knowledge of the South was an invaluable help to him and to those with whom he worked to bring some Justice down that way. 

In a remarkable paper, which Jonathan wrote during his first stay in Selma, he addressed how our motives, as he put it, can be "healthy and free within the ambiguities and tilted structures of a truly fallen Creation." He added: 

"I found very real, if ambiguous confirmation in that beloved community who ate and slept and cursed and prayed in the rain-soaked streets of the Negro "compound' in that first week in Selma." 

Next Page  1  |  2


Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He was an Army infantry/intelligence officer and then a CIA analyst for 27 years, and is now on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). His (more...)

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

Go To Commenting

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles
Google Content Matches:
- Advertisement -

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

What's Hayden Hidin'?

Asylum for Julian Assange -- Former Awardee for Integrity

Petraeus Cons Obama on Afghan War

Obama Stands Up to Israel, Tamps Down Iran War Threats

Mullen Wary of Israeli Attack on Iran

Note to Nancy Pelosi: Colin Powell Got Snookered at CIA, too


The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
9 people are discussing this page, with 11 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

Ray, we pray you get to sail and arrive safely.&nb... by Jean Blackwood on Sunday, Jun 26, 2011 at 7:40:21 PM
I admire and envy your bravery.  I hope all o... by Marta B on Sunday, Jun 26, 2011 at 8:47:54 PM
...your mission very carefully, and praying form y... by Bia Winter on Monday, Jun 27, 2011 at 7:02:47 AM
Though your actions, and those of your fellow trav... by Paul McArthur on Monday, Jun 27, 2011 at 8:43:57 AM
Disgusting.  As an overture Israel released G... by Al Feldzamen on Monday, Jun 27, 2011 at 9:11:23 AM
There is a huge amount of information on the subje... by Mark Sashine on Monday, Jun 27, 2011 at 9:28:07 AM
Israel seeks to stop the importing of weapons, exp... by Al Feldzamen on Monday, Jun 27, 2011 at 10:40:14 AM
not to make such unfortunate comparisons. US had ... by Mark Sashine on Monday, Jun 27, 2011 at 12:26:34 PM
UN: Israel Executed Flotilla Activists Gareth... by Eric Schwing on Monday, Jun 27, 2011 at 4:31:26 PM
A Broadside song salute to you, Alice Walker, &... by Truth Troubadour on Monday, Jun 27, 2011 at 6:58:30 PM
Mr. McGovern,  Thank you for your deep insigh... by Hubert Steed on Tuesday, Jun 28, 2011 at 8:39:17 AM