For over 20 years, the life and martyrdom of Jonathan Myrick Daniels has been remembered through a pilgrimage to Hayneville, Alabama, co-sponsored by the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama with the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast. Due to the ongoing pandemic precautions, the 2021 event will be a virtual celebration of Jonathan Daniels life and work combatting voter suppression, and the Episcopal Divinity School at Union Theological will join as a co-sponsor.
The virtual celebration will broadcast on Saturday, August 14, at 11 am. The celebration will be streamed on the Diocese of Alabama website and social media. This is not only a momentous time in our country’s history for discussions about race but also an opportunity to spread widely the story to those who are unable to physically participate and to those who have yet to hear the account of Jonathan Daniels and others killed during the civil rights movement. The virtual celebration will include prayers and the Roll Call of the Martyrs offered from St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Selma, the parish where Daniels worshipped and helped to integrate, as well as contemporary remarks from the Episcopal bishops from the Dioceses of Alabama and the Central Gulf Coast, community members, and representatives of Virginia Military Institute.
The keynote speaker will be the Rev. Kim Jackson, who serves as a Senator for Georgia State Senate District 41, representing portions of Dekalb and Gwinnett counties. Kim works every day to build a safer, fairer, and more prosperous Georgia, and bring the diverse voices of her district to the Capitol: immigrants, refugees, and people living on the margins.
Jonathan Myrick Daniels was an Episcopal seminarian killed while working in the civil rights movement in Hayneville, Alabama. In 1965, in answer to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s appeal, Daniels came to Selma. He returned to seminary to secure permission to return to Selma to continue work sponsored by the Episcopal Society for Cultural and Racial Unity (ESCRU). He was one of a group of protestors arrested on August 14. The group was held in the jail in Hayneville for 6 days, and then unexpectedly released. Daniels walked to a nearby store with a small group. The group was confronted by Tom Coleman, an auxiliary deputy, wielding a shotgun. When Coleman pointed the shot gun at 17-year-old Ruby Sales, Daniels pushed Sales out of the way. He was killed instantly by the shot. Richard Morrisroe, a Roman Catholic priest, was shot in the back as he and the others tried to get away. Coleman was acquitted by an all-white jury.
The offering from this virtual celebration is designated for the Lowndes County Board of Education Scholarship Fund. To give to the offering, please visit bit.ly/DioAlaGive and select “Jonathan Daniels Pilgrimage Offering” from the drop down. For information on the celebration please contact the Rev. Carolyn Foster (Diocese of Alabama), of Mr. Joe McDaniel, Jr. (Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast).