Event held in Lowndes Co. honors fallen Civil Rights activist - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Event held in Lowndes Co. honors fallen Civil Rights activist

(Source: WSFA 12 News) (Source: WSFA 12 News)
LOWNDES CO., AL (WSFA) -

Hundreds of people from all over the country poured into Hayneville on Saturday to remember a Civil Rights activist and martyr.

The annual event is called the Jonathan Daniels Pilgrimage, and honors not only him but others who were killed in Alabama during the 1960's Civil Rights movement.

Jonathan Myrick Daniels is regarded as a hero. A Civil Rights martyr who fought and gave his life for the freedom of others.

"At that moment of death, you have no idea what legacy you leave behind," said Atlanta resident Janice Jerome.

The Episcopal seminarian was a civil rights activist and one day after being jailed for picketing an all white store, he was released. Daniels along with three other people, another white man and two black teens, then headed to a store to buy cold drinks.

When they arrived at the store, they were greeted by a volunteer sheriff deputy carrying a shotgun.

Daniels was able to push down one of the teens just before the deputy shot and killed him.

"They had firsthand experience of a good God, and put themselves at risk for all the right reasons," said Reverend Robert Wright.

The other man with Daniels, Richard Morrisroe, grabbed the other teen and ran for safety, but was knocked down with a blast to his back. He was critically wounded but survived, and he says nearly 50 years later he still remembers that tragic day and the good that came from evil.

"There were a lot of committed young people who were helping the people of Lowndes County to see alternatives," Morrisroe said. "It's amazing how things that are done wrong, don't have a long life shelf, eventually good comes back around. We may not see it in our life, but it comes back around."

And with Daniels in mind, people hope to continue that good in order to better the place they call home.

"I hope I can try to help other people and do what I need to," said Georgia resident Crystal O'Neal. "To make a pledge to live out what he stood for."

They hope to continue to do good so that Daniel's death was not in vain.

Copyright 2014 WSFA 12 News.  All rights reserved.

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