Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Ed King and the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement . . . James Brainerd Taylor and slavery . . . James Brainerd Taylor Marsh and Fisk Jubilee Singers

Woolworth sit-in and Rev. Ed King (standing).
Jackson, Mississippi. May 28, 1963.
50th anniversary on May 28, 2013
Pictured to the left (standing, with the clerical collar) is the Rev. Ed King

Then a chaplain at the historic and all-black Tougaloo College in Jackson, Mississippi. Rev. King is assisting students during the historic Woolworth sit-in on May 28, 1963, in Jackson. The sit-in was the most violent--racist white police towards black students and white sympathizers--of all the 1960's sit-ins, and the most publicized.

At my invitation, the now 72-year-old Rev. King was the featured speaker for the Peninsula College Christian Student Fellowship's fourth annual tribute to National African-American History Month, February 26 to March 1. I serve as the founding advisor for PCCSF (est. 2002), an official student club at Peninsula College in Port Angeles, Clallam County, Washington. 

The college's Associated Student Council (student body government)-operated Sound of Unity and Magic of Cinema film series co-sponsored Rev. King's coming.

Click here to read the press release of Rev. King's visit that was printed in the Sequim Gazette. Special thanks to Riski Business Photographics in Port Angeles for the above March 1, 2009, photo of Rev. King and me.

Rev. Ed King and Dr. Francis Kyle.
Port Angeles, Washington. March 1, 2009.
This was Ed's second visit to Port Angeles.

Shortly after meeting him while on his 3-hour civil rights history tour in Jackson in late May 2005, I invited Ed to speak in Port Angeles on August 14, 2005. He was well received by the local community and media.

To listen to a 25-minute live radio interview with Ed and me on "The Todd Ortloff Show" (KONP News Radio, Port Angeles, Wash.), click here to request the free MP3 audio file. Or, contact KONP directly.

For a front page photo and story on Rev. King's Port Angeles visit in the April 2009 issue (Issue #22) of Channels, click here (online PDF screen version). Channels is the monthly newsletter of the United Methodist Church's Pacific Northwest Conference.

Additionally, click here (PDF print version, see page 6) to read an article in the March 18, 2009, issue (vol. 62, no. 12) of the Mississippi United Methodist Advocate.

Here is what others have said about the Rev. Ed King:

+ "Dr. (Martin Luther) King got the headlines, the awards and the adulation, but the Ed Kings did the daily dirty work so essential to the movement's many successes."
--> Davis Houck and David E. Dixon, eds., Rhetoric, Religion and the Civil Rights Movement, 1954-1965 (Baylor University Press, 2006)

+ "Ed King risked everything, and lost much, for the civil rights movement. He has unique insights and an insider's perspective. He has paid his dues and more over many years. His life gives witness to the immense worth of speaking courageously and truthfully to ruthless power. Ed King is a hero, a worthy subject for a biographer."
--> An anonymous 1/19/07 comment to a 10/30/03 biographical article about Rev. King in the Jackson Free Press

+ "church reformer, theological prankster, pastor of his 'movement congregation' . . . renegade Methodist minister"
--> Charles Marsh, God's Long Summer: Stories of Faith and Civil Rights (Princeton University Press, 1997)

Regarding the leaders of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement, here is what Rev. King said during a February 27, 2002, lecture at the Bonhoeffer House, part of Charles Marsh's Theological Horizons: Christians Engaged In Ideas and Actions. King's talk was titled "Religion and the Civil Rights Movement" (click here for the lecture's full manuscript via the University of Virginia's Project on Lived Theology):
The leadership in the black civil rights movement I would say was disproportionately Methodist, certainly was heavily Protestant, and that is obvious. The very top leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr. [1929-1968] may have been Baptist, and he had splits with the black Baptist denominations, but in most of the communities that I know about, the key people who were ready first were black Methodist women. And the Methodist church had a tradition in this country of social concerns, but a deeper tradition that a born again life was a life of citizenship [social responsibility] as well as a life of salvation. And you just didn't make those distinctions [between the eternal and temporal].

UPDATE - August 2012

Some lifetime achievement recognition
for Rev. Ed King, 2010-12

Rev. King was the 2011 Alumnus of the Year at Millsaps College in Jackson, Miss. The now 74-year-old King earned a B.A. in sociology in 1958. The summer 2011 issue (pages 55-57) of the Millsaps Magazine feature this honor for King.

In 2010, the Millsaps College Leader of Values and Ethics (LOVE) award was renamed in honor of King. The award "is bestowed on the student leader who best exemplifies principled leadership for a cause of deep moral consequences that may meet with opposition but proves over time to be true." On February 5, 2011, Millsap's Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority sponsored a "Living Legacies Ball" in honor of King to raise funds to endow the Rev. Ed King LOVE award.

Boston University's School of Theology honored King with their Alumnus of the Year award for 2010.

The longtime home church of Rev. King, Galloway United Methodist Church in Jackson, Miss., honored King at a special service on May 29, 2011.

National Civil Rights Museum.
Est. 1991. Memphis, Tennessee.
Under the category of Icon of the Civil Rights Movement, Rev. King was one of several distinguished recipients of the 2011 Freedom Awards given by the National Civil Rights MuseumOther recipients included basketball legend Bill Russell, former professional basketball player Alonzo Mourning and actor and activist Danny Glover. The November 12, 2011, ceremony was held in Memphis, Tennessee, and not far from the museum's location at the historic Lorraine Motel, the place where Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968. The year 2011 marks the 20th anniversary of the museum.

With actor Daniel T. Parker playing the Rev. Ed King, the world premier of the theatrical performance "All The Way" ran July 25 to November 3, 2012, at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (est. 1935) in Ashland, Oregon. In the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Richard Schenkkan's vivid dramatization of U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson's first year in office (1963-64), "means versus ends plays out on a broad stage canvas as politicians and civil rights leaders plot strategy and wage war." After its world premier in Oregon, the play most likely will appear in other major U.S. cities in 2013 and beyond. (UPDATE: Click here to read the New York Times review [September 25, 2013] of the showing of "All the Way" at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Mass.)
--> With family members, Ed King watched the play in-person on August 8, 2012. He also spoke with the man who played him, Daniel T. Parker, as well as all the other performers in the play. In a separate meeting in Seattle on August 13, Rev. King also spoke with the play's author Richard Schenkkan.

Dr. Francis Kyle and Rev. Ed King.
Camano Island, Washington. August 10, 2012.

YouTube video. 76 minutes. 

"A White Southerner in the Civil Rights Movement:
The Rev. Ed King Story"

Guest lecturer Rev. Ed King at the University of Virginia. 
For Prof. Charles Marsh's "Kingdom of God in America" class. 
October 24, 2013.

James Brainerd Taylor (1801-1829) . . . uncommon Christian and friend to African slaves

Writing on Sunday, July 12, 1823, the American James Brainerd Taylor wrote the following in his journal while a student at the Lawrenceville Academy (5 miles south of Princeton, N.J.),
Spoke to the colored people this p.m. "Ethiopia shall soon stretch forth her hands unto God" [Psalm 68:31]. How they are degraded and frowned upon by white people! My very soul pities their condition, both in this country and in Africa.
*Memoir of James Brainerd Taylor, 2nd ed. (NY: American Tract Society, 1833), page 150
An Uncommon Christian:
James Brainerd Taylor (1801-
1829) by Dr. Francis Kyle.
University Press of America. 2008.
In addition to his starting a Sunday school for Africans in Lawrenceville, N.J., Taylor also interacted with slaves during his time in New York City and during his travels in the Southern states of Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia.

While a late teen in New York City, the "uncommon Christian" served as a teacher and assistant superintendent at one of America's earliest Sunday schools for African slaves. New York Sunday School Union No. 34 was founded by Taylor's older brother, Jeremiah H. Taylor. It met at St. George's Episcopal Church (now called Calvary-St. George's and located in Manhattan near Stuyvesant Square and Gramercy Park).

"It mattered nothing with Mr. Taylor what was the condition or the color of the saint," wrote the Memoir's Southern Presbyterian co-compilers, John Holt Rice and Benjamin Holt Rice. (Memoir, 438.)

James Brainerd Taylor Marsh (1839-1887) . . . abolitionist and manager of the 1870's Fisk Jubilee Singers

Relatedly, James Brainerd Taylor Marsh was a white abolitionist, successful newspaper editor, mayor of the Ohio town of Oberlin (1878-81), member of the Oberlin College Class of 1862, and manager of the famed Fisk Jubilee Singers, the 1870's international traveling group of the African-American Fisk University (est. 1866) in Nashville, Tenn.

"Jubilee Singers: Sacrifice and Glory."
J. B. T. Marsh helped to make the Fisk Jubilee Singers famous with his book The Story of the Jubilee Singers; with Their Songs (1881). Marsh wrote the book while traveling with the singers in Europe and elsewhere.

The Fisk Jubilee Singers still sing today.

"Jubilee Singers: Sacrifice and Glory" ("former slaves sing their way into the nation's heart") is a documentary film produced by America's Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) in 1999.

It was common in 19th-century America for Christians to name their child in honor of popular pastors, evangelists and missionaries. Like J. B. Taylor (Middle Haddam), so J. B. T. Marsh (New Milford) was also born in Connecticut. At the time in the mid-1800s, and via his two published memoirs (1833, 1838), J. B. Taylor was at the height of his fame in the U.S. and U.K.

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