This year's annual observance of Jonathan Daniels and the Martyrs of Alabama is Saturday, August 12th in Hayneville, Alabama.
It was one of those days that no matter how much I tried, I could not escape the scorching heat of an August sun. It was hot; it was crowded; it was uncomfortable. It became uncomfortable while standing at the jail and someone read aloud an account of the conditions Daniels and his friends endured. Then we made our way to the store where Daniels was shot. We heard the rest of the story. We prayed. We sang. While the group moved on, I stayed. That is when I saw her. After most people moved on, an older African American woman walked to the curb in front of the store, fell to her knees and kissed the concrete step. And she cried. In that moment I realized that a pilgrimage is not simply about standing in a place. A pilgrimage is made sacred by the people with whom you stand. It is a good thing to go to Hayneville to honor the martyrdom of Jonathan Myrick Daniels. It is a good thing to remember what Daniels and so many others gave for the sake of justice and equality. It is a good thing to stand in that place and give thanks for how far we have come. However, it is a better thing to go to Hayneville to stand together with folks who lived that injustice and continue to live unjustly. It is a better thing to stand together as the people of God, remember places like Baltimore and Ferguson, and cry out “But look how far there is still to go.” We must continue the work we are called to do to further God’s dream of “the Beloved Community.” Ride the bus; drive your car. As Episcopalians from the Central Gulf Coast, let’s go to Hayneville and stand together as the people of God.
Jonathan Daniel's Pilgrimage
This pilgrimage marks the 21st year for this observance and is attended by pilgrims from around the country. Jonathan Myrick Daniels was a young seminarian in March 1965, when he responded to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s call to come to Selma to help black citizens register to vote. A shotgun wielding unemployed construction worker and special duty deputy killed him on August 20, 1965 in Hayneville, Alabama.The Episcopal Church designated Jonathan Myrick Daniels a martyr in 1991, observing his feast day on August 14th.
The pilgrimage starts at 11:00 am on August 12th at the Lowndes County Courthouse Square and retraces the steps of Daniels, as he was released from the jail house, to the grocery store where he was fatally shot when he took a bullet to prevent the death of 16 year old Ruby Sales. The march then winds its way back to the courthouse, where an all-white jury found the white deputy innocent in the killing of Jonathan Myrick Daniels.
Bishop Russell Kendrick will be one of the celebrants for the Eucharist.
Dr. Bernard LaFayette to deliver the main address
Dr. LaFayette is a Civil Rights Movement activist, minister, educator, lecturer, and an authority on the strategy of Nonviolent Social Change. He was a co-founder of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in 1960, and leader of the Nashville Movement Lunch Counter Sit-Ins in 1960, and the Freedom Rides in 1961.
Following the pilgrimage, attendees are invited to deliberate race relations and the future of our communities in a forum moderated by Dr. Mark Wilson of Auburn University. Participants will share stories and weigh the pros and cons of various approaches to the issue using a non-partisan guide published by National Issues Forums.
Forum will be 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm.
There is no cost to participate in the forum, but space is limited and pre-registration is encouraged. To learn more or to pre-register for the forum, visit https://goo.gl?uQ5esQ.
Forum contacts: Deacon Carolyn Foster at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tom Osborne at email@example.com.
Transportation to Hayneville
The Christ Church Parish (Pensacola) chapters of the Brotherhood of St. Andrew and the Episcopal Church Women will be jointly sponsoring an air conditioned, restroom equipped tour bus to transport those in the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast who are interested in making the pilgrimage.
After the pilgrimage program there will be a brief stop in Greenville, Alabama where St. Thomas' Episcopal Church will offer hospitality and refreshments. Please bring your own bag lunch.
Please note: the group traveling by tour bus will not be participating in the forum mentioned above.
The cost is $44 per person.
The bus will leave from the Belmont Street side of Christ Church Parish's parking lot at 7:00 am and return the same day at 6:00 pm. There will also be pick-ups on Hwy 29 N or one of the I-65 exits.
Please contact Joe McDaniel: 415.225.9066 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Make checks payable to Christ Church Parish with Hayneville Pilgrimage in the memo line. Mail to: Joe McDaniel, 709 Roanne Lane, Pensacola, FL 32505. Deadline for receipt of checks is August 1. Thank you.
It is recommended that you wear a hat or bring an umbrella to provide shade from the sun, and to bring plenty of water to stay hydrated during the pilgrimage.