MORE ON SELMA 1963: First Organizer & First Teen Recruit, (Part 2) [LDT039]

Charles Bonner
Charles Bonner

I hope you heard last week’s episode, number 38, and I also hope you went back to number 30. The subject is the earliest days of the Selma voter registration drive, in 1963. My guest, Colia Clark, and her then-husband, Bernard Lafayette started it all when they went to Selma to organize for SNCC, The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. So I talked with Colia in episode 30. In last week’s episode we were joined by Charles Bonner, the first teenager recruited, and today we continue on with Colia and Charles. In this episode, Charles asks most of the questions as he is researching a book on that period.

 Colia Clark
Colia Clark

The three episodes together actually are an incredible window into that incredibly important part of our past, when

some of the most important work for justice was being done.

So, if you haven’t heard the other episodes (numbers 30 & 38), my recommendation is that you go back and play them. Get your friends to listen to them. Maybe even watch the movie, “Selma” together. And then sit down over dinner and talk about this history. Think about what it all means. Do we still have full voting rights? What is nonviolent resistance all about? What are the lessons for the fight for justice today? Is nonviolence the only Christian response to injustice? You could go on all night. (And isn’t it true that those all night discussions are the best ones?)

Love in a Dangerous Time is mostly about issues of Church community in times when the Church as we know it seems to morphing around us. OK, so these episodes aren’t precisely about those issues. But can you imagine true faith communities of the future that have not made some effort to restore the strong heart for justice that is so elusive today? We need to learn from Kairos* Moments, like the Civil Rights Movement, in order to create the “Church 2B.”

So let’s listen. Colia Clark (the organizer) is a life-long activist and educator, now living in New York City. Charles Bonner (the first teenage recruit) has gone on to become one of our country’s leading Civil Rights lawyers. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

* Kairos (καιρός) is an ancient Greek word meaning the right or opportune moment (the supreme moment). The ancient Greeks had two words for time, chronos and kairos. While the former refers to chronological or sequential time, the latter signifies a time lapse, a moment of indeterminate time in which everything happens. In the Christian world, a ‘kairos moment’ is a moment in time when the Holy Spirit draws near to do a special work in and through a person or group.  The Holy Spirit creates and orchestrates ‘kairos moments.’


Useful links:

Charles Bonner:

Coilia Clark: Field Report of SNCC organizing activities, by Colia LaFayette, April 6, 1963

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