Somewhere along the 55-mile voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965, 15-year-old Betty Anderson, whose father was a shoemaker, wore a large hole in her shoe. But that didn’t stop her.
These composers and singers of the faith championed a musical style that crosses denominations and transcends race: black gospel music.
First Baptist has always had strong members whose faith, tested and tried with slavery, Jim Crow segregation, intimidation, violence, and even a devastating tornado, triumphed over all.
In the bleak midwinter 155 years ago this month, my great-great-Uncle Cornelius M. Dearth died here — on the grounds of the Civil War POW camp in Andersonville, Georgia. He was 22.
Thelma Kennedy, a 78-year-old Alabama woman, had a hard life. But that didn’t stop her from pouring herself into her six kids and more than 20 foster children — and everyone else she met.
‘I have always loved listening to the stories from ‘old times,’ and I am proud of all my family has accomplished despite coming out of the horrible sin of slavery,’ says Betty Anderson, 69.
It was 10:22 a.m. on September 15, 1963, and a dynamite bomb had just ripped a giant hole through Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, 25 blocks away, where Chris’s daughter had gone with her mother to celebrate Youth Sunday.
The solemn march of solidarity, attended by people of all races and ages, gives a sense of the courage and commitment of ‘ordinary people who did extraordinary things.’
Our senior choir sings spirituals year round, because we love the expression of praise and worship of Christ, the sharing of a gospel, reflected in sweet poetry and lush melody.
You might not have heard of these less celebrated Black History Month heroes, but their lives of faith and service are worthy of recognition.
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