As the son of a farmer and brother to 11 siblings, this Baptist Minister was no stranger to adversity.
Triggered by the arrest of Rosa Parks, he helped to organize the historic Montgomery bus boycotts, embracing his role as a civil rights activist as he traveled to protest against segregation. He and his close friend Dr. Martin Luther King organized the Southern Christian Leadership Conference: one of, if not the most respected civil rights organizations in the south. As president, he led the Poor People’s Campaign, which included a march on Washington, leading to the creation of the Federal Food Stamps Program. From his home and church being targets of multiple bombing attacks to cradling his close friend Dr. Martin Luther King as he lay dying, this man knew how to persevere in the face of a challenge.
Etched on his tombstone are the words “I tried.” Yes, he tried, he made a difference, and we carry forth the spirit of his efforts today.