Get In the Way!

By Hope Johnson

VOting Rights The Struggle Contines. A monthly online series on voting rights, then and now. Living Legacy Project

“Get In The Way!!!” Congressman John Lewis has reminded us for years that it is our turn to actively make a difference. He stood on the crest of the Edmund Pettus as he marched peacefully for the right to vote. Twice the marchers had to turn back as they suffered the violence of the racists. They finally crossed that bridge and headed for Montgomery to demand their right to vote. This led to the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The Living Legacy Project has continued the struggle for years. The UU The Vote Campaign continues the struggle, today. Now—more than ever, we each have to get in the way and vote!

Do you wish you knew more about the role of voting rights in the Civil Rights Movement? Do you want to learn more about how African-Americans have worked to secure and preserve their right to vote in this country?

Voting Rights Webinar Offered

The Living Legacy Project is offering a series of webinars each month at 7:30 pm Eastern between now and Election day and are open to everyone. Programs are an hour long followed by an informal discussion time. The series is free, but please note that donations are accepted to honor the work of the guest speakers participating in the series and to support the work of the Living Legacy Project.

The program on June 30th will feature three generations of voting rights activists: Mrs. Ellie J. Dahmer, civil rights activist and educator; Dr. Joyce Ladner, civil rights activist, author, civil servant, sociologist; and Ms. Arekia Bennett, Executive Director of Mississippi Votes with a focus on young adults. The program in August will recognize the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment, with special guest Ms. Michelle Duster, author, writer, and writing professor. She is also the great great granddaughter of Ms. Ida B. Wells-Barnett, investigative journalist, educator and early leader of the Movement. Registration is open for each of the sessions at this time.

The video recording of the presentation from May 26 which featured Dr. Flonzie Brown- Wright, civil rights activist, and author;and Mr. Larry Rubin, white SNCC activist is available on the Living Legacy website.

The Living Legacy Project runs the Living Legacy Pilgrimage, a journey to meet the people, hear the stories, and visit the sites that changed the world in the Movement—that is the Civil Rights Movement. This typical eight-day experience includes Birmingham, Alabama, where the 1963 bombing at the 16th Street Baptist Church killed four little girls, Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley and Denise McNair; or Selma, Alabama where we pay our respects to Viola Liuzzo, Unitarian Universalist who was murdered after answering Dr. King’s call for help and drove from Detroit, Michigan to work for voting rights. We also go to Memphis Tennessee, where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated—now home to the National Civil Rights Museum.

The Living Legacy Pilgrimage is much more than a civil rights history tour. We are privileged to meet the Veterans of the Movement—many of them unsung heroes and foot soldiers. Additionally, we spend time exploring today’s racism, white privilege, and barriers to equality and equity look like in the towns we visit—and in our own hometowns. As a spiritual pilgrimage, we spend time together reflecting on what we experience so when we each return home, we can apply what we have learned to make a difference in today's world.

About the Author

Hope Johnson

Hope Johnson was a beloved elder in Unitarian Universalism. She served as the Congregational Life Consultant for the UUA's Central East Region and the Southern Region. She brought specialties in conflict resolution and multicultural congregational development.

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