From Morgantown to San Francisco

An excerpt from Morgantown to San Francisco, a memoir I am working on. My most recent book, Damn Yankee Buttons, is available on Amazon.com

The Selma march was triggered by the Alabama state police murder of Jimmy Lee Jackson. Twenty-six-year-old Jackson had recently died in a Selma hospital of wound infection after being shot in the abdomen by a state cop.

Martin Luther King, Jr. led a subsequent march that crossed the bridge out of Selma. He invited ministers and others sympathetic to the civil rights movement to join him. 500 Unitarian-Universalist ministers answered the call. One was murdered.

My Peace Corps friend, Al Ulmer, drove one of those ministers, Unitarian-Universalist James Reeb, from Atlanta to Selma. That evening, Reeb and Clark Olsen and Orloff Miller, two other Unitarian-Universalist ministers, were attacked by white racists on a Selma sidewalk. Reeb was killed with a baseball bat to his head. An all-white, all-male Alabama jury found the three men innocent who killed Reeb.

James Reeb lived for a short time and in that time the attackers continued their terror.

About Sam's Branch

I joined the Peace Corps in 1961 as West Virginia’s first volunteer. Go to Amazon.com to order my book Imagonna: Peace Corps Memories. I am the eighth generation of my family born in the Big Coal River Valley of West Virginia. My father and grandfather were underground coal miners. I have a chemical engineering degree from West Virginia University (WVU). After training to make sidewinder missiles, I joined the Peace Corps and taught chemistry and coached the track team at a secondary school in Nigeria. Since that time, I was WVU’s first full time foreign student advisor and worked in urban outreach, organic farming, construction labor, and high school teaching. I recently retired from the board of directors of the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy (wvhighlands.org), and recently retired from the board of directors of the West Virginia Kanawha State Forest Foundation (ksff.org). I am still on the board of the Labor History Association and the West Virginia Environmental Education Association and recently joined the board of the West Virginia Civil Liberties Union. I am active in the campaign to stop the destructive practice of mountain top removal strip mining in the Appalachian Mountains. You may contact me at martinjul@aol.com or my blog samsbranch.wordpress.
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