Support the Café
Search our site

Churches in the three dioceses of Virginia to remember Jonathan Myrick Daniels – an American Civil Rights Martyr

Churches in the three dioceses of Virginia to remember Jonathan Myrick Daniels – an American Civil Rights Martyr

PRESS RELEASE
For immediate release
July 17, 2015
Richmond, VA

EPISCOPAL CHURCHES REMEMBER CIVIL RIGHTS MARTYR

“One of the most heroic Christian deeds of which I have heard in my entire ministry,” said the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “was performed by Jonathan Daniels.”

Fifty years ago this August 20, Daniels, a young Episcopal seminarian, was murdered in Hayneville, Ala., while participating in the civil rights movement. The Episcopal Diocese of Virginia will remember and reflect on this remarkable man on Sunday, August 16 — the Sunday nearest the anniversary of his death.

“Jonathan Daniels is one of my personal heroes,” said the Rt. Rev. Shannon S. Johnston, Bishop of Virginia, who began his ordained ministry in Selma.

Daniels was preparing for his own ordained ministry at Episcopal Theological School (now Episcopal Divinity School) in Cambridge, Mass., when in March 1965 he answered Dr. King’s call for student and clergy volunteers to join the voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery. Daniels returned to Alabama that July to help register new voters in the African American community.

After a demonstration in Fort Deposit, he and 28 others were arrested and taken to jail in Hayneville. Six days later, they were released. As one of their group called to get transportation, Daniels and three others walked toward a small store to buy a cold drink. Approaching the door, he saw a shotgun being raised at them. He pushed aside Ruby Sales, a 17-year-old African American woman, just as the gun fired. Daniels died instantly. The gunman then shot a Roman Catholic priest, Douglas Morrisroe, wounding him severely.

The gunman was later acquitted of manslaughter by an all-white jury.

In 1991, The Episcopal Church added Daniels to its yearly cycle of commemorations, setting August 14 as the annual date. Canterbury Cathedral in England, the “mother church” of the Anglican Communion, honors him in its “Chapel of Modern Martyrs,” along with only one other American: Martin Luther King Jr.

Daniels, a native of New Hampshire, had a special connection with Virginia as he attended the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, graduating as the valedictorian of the class of 1961.

Bishops of the three dioceses in Virginia-the Rt. Rev. Shannon S. Johnston of the Diocese of Virginia, the Rt. Rev. Herman Hollerith IV of Southern Virginia, and the Rt. Rev. Mark Bourlakas of Southwestern Virginia-have each authorized clergy and congregations to use the lessons appointed for the Daniels commemoration on one of the Sundays closest to the anniversary of his death.

+Shannon’s letter to clergy is here.

 

Dislike (0)
0 0 vote
Article Rating
Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

Café Comments?

Our comment policy requires that you use your real first and last names and provide an email address (your email will not be published). Comments that use non-PG rated language, include personal attacks, that are not provable as fact or that we deem in any way to be counter to our mission of fostering respectful dialogue will not be posted.

2 Comments
Newest
Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Rod Gillis

Thank you so much for this article. We have not forgotten. " The souls of the righteous..."

Like (0)
Dislike (0)
Jay Croft

Also, the two Alabama dioceses hold an annual pilgrimage in Haynesville, visiting the sites of the jailing and murder.

Like (0)
Dislike (0)
Facebooktwitterrss
Support the Café
Past Posts
2020_001

The Episcopal Café seeks to be an independent voice, reporting and reflecting on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition.  The Café is not a platform of advocacy, but it does aim to tell the story of the church from the perspective of Progressive Christianity.  Our collective sympathy, as the Café, lies with the project of widening the circle of inclusion within the church and empowering all the baptized for the role to which they have been called as followers of Christ.

The opinions expressed at the Café are those of individual contributors, and, unless otherwise noted, should not be interpreted as official statements of a parish, diocese or other organization. The art and articles that appear here remain the property of their creators.

All Content  © 2017 Episcopal Café