The annual Jimmy Lee Jackson Day and Perry County Civic League Anniversary will be held this year on February 20, 2011 at 2:00 p.m. at the Marion Baptist Academy, in Marion Alabama. The facility is located at 400 Centreville Street. The featured speaker of the day will be the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright.
This event is to celebrate the life and commemorate the death of Jimmy Lee Jackson, a martyr of the Civil Rights Movement.
The Reverend Dr. Wright pastored the Trinity United Methodist Church on Chicago’s Southside for more than 30 years.
He served as President Barack Obama’s pastor for more than 20 years and performed the wedding ceremony for President Obama and his wife Michelle Obama.
Reverend Wright preaches a socialist religion message better known as Black Gospel. The fiery preacher from Chicago is world renown for his tell it like it is messages of Black self help. Reverend Wright got national attention when in a speech before his congregation in 2003 he dammed America for its hate and abuse of African Americans and for turning its back on the promise American made to her citizens. Reverend Wright was a lightening rod during the 2008 Presidential campaign when the speech was discovered by television news. Many political forecasters believed that Reverend Wright’s speeches and style of delivery would derail President Obama’s chance at become President.
Jimmy Lee Jackson
Forty-six years ago a young African American was gunned down in Marion, Alabama by Alabama State Troopers in Mack’s Café. His death led to the Selma to Montgomery March in 1965. That young man was known to most as Jimmie Lee.
Jimmie Lee Jackson was born in Marion, Alabama, on 16 December 1938.
At age 26, the former soldier was the youngest deacon in his church, the father of a young daughter, and worked as a laborer.
On the night Jackson was shot, he marched with his sister, mother, and 82-year-old grandfather, and other protesters from Zion United Methodist Church, where King’s colleague C. T. Vivian had just spoken, toward the city jail where Rev. James Orange, a field secretary for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), had been imprisoned earlier that day.
When the local police, aided by state troopers, violently broke up the march, demonstrators ran back to the church, nearby houses, and businesses for safety.
In the melee, Jackson and his family sought refuge with others in Mack’s Café. Troopers followed the protesters inside and began beating people. An Alabama state trooper shot Jimmie Lee Jackson in the stomach as he tried to protect his mother from being beaten. After Jackson was shot, troopers chased him outside and continued to beat him until he collapsed. In addition to Jackson, at least half a dozen others were hospitalized for the blows they received from troopers. Jackson died from his wounds eight days later.
In the weeks following Jackson’s death, SCLC organized a march from Selma to Montgomery, the state capitol. Jackson’s death was “the catalyst that produced the march to Montgomery.”
On 7 March 1965, the day the march first set off from Selma, Sheriff Jim Clark’s deputies attacked demonstrators with tear gas, batons, and whips. Images of the attack were nationally televised and at least one network interrupted regular programming to broadcast the violence of “Bloody Sunday.”
The national attention that this broadcast drew created an awareness of the disenfranchment of African American citizens, particularly in the South, and ultimately led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in August of that year.
Each year, in Selma, this march is recreated on the Edmund Pettus Bridge on the first full weekend in March.
Reverend Wright will receive the Drum Major for Justice Award during the 46th celebration of the Perry County Civic League and Jimmie Jackson Day. This is the highest award given by the Perry County Civic League which is headed by Commissioner Albert Turner, Jr.
The award has been received by such notables as: Rev. Jesse Jackson, Coretta Scott King, Rev. Al Sharpton, and Judge Greg Mathis to name a few. Turner cites Reverend Wright’s long standing fight to seek equality for all as the reason for his nomination to receive this award.
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