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Civil Rights Memorial celebrates 30th anniversary

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Civil Rights Memorial

The Civil Rights Memorial that honors 40 individuals who were murdered during the modern civil rights movement will celebrate its 30th anniversary beginning Monday.

Jimmie Lee Jackson was murdered by state troopers in Marion, Alabama, on February 26, 1965.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which is based in Montgomery, Alabama, dedicated the memorial November 5, 1986. The memorial honors individuals murdered in the period framed by the 1954 Brown v. Education decision and the 1968 assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 

The martyrs selected for the Memorial either were murdered because they were active in the movement; they were murdered as acts of terror designed to intimidate the black community or their deaths like Emmett Till’s galvanized the civil rights movement.

Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Church were murdered in the bombing of the Sixteenth Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama on September 15,

“As we celebrate 30 years of the Civil Rights Memorial, we are reminded that everyday people, including each and every one of us—have the power to bring about social change by standing up and speaking out against injustice,” said Tafeni English, director of the Civil Rights Memorial Center.

Willie Edwards, a truck driver, was murdered by the Klu Klux Klan members on January 23, 1957, in Montgomery, Alabama

On Tuesday Mayor-elect Steven Reed, Montgomery’s first black mayor, will deliver an address during a “Day of Remembrance.”

Participants will lay a wreath and flowers on the Memorial to honor civil rights martyrs.

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