From Selma to Montgomery, preparations for the celebration of this weekend’s 50th Anniversary of the Selma-to-Montgomery Voting Rights March are in full swing. I recently had the opportunity to meet Eleanor Lewis Dawkins. Ms. Dawkins is the daughter of Rufus Lewis. Mr. Lewis was a voting rights strategist and organizer. He owned a nightclub called the “Citizens Club” where members had to be registered voters or enrolled in citizenship schools. The citizenship schools taught prospective voters how to fill out the so-called literacy test which was the pre-requisite to become a registered voter. Ms. Dawkins told me her Dad was very good at organizing and he had the insight to nominate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to be the spokesman for the Montgomery Improvement Association. This group led the successful Montgomery Bus Boycott. Listening to Ms. Dawkins recall her life was like opening a history book!
I have asked many people about their memories from those days as the anniversary comes near. Many of the memories are not something we would read about in history class. It is so important to learn from those who witnessed these events in history first hand so we can share it with future generations. We as Americans take so many of our freedoms for granted. As this anniversary draws near, I hope that we all take time to learn from our history.
If you would like to know about some of the events surrounding the anniversary, please visit www.dreammarcheson.com. Also, please tune in to the premier of the City of Montgomery’s “A March for the Ages” on Capital City Connection, found on Charter Cable channel 181 and WOW! Cable channel 96 or you can watch online ! Area high school students (including our daughter) conducted 15-20 minute interviews with some of the Civil Rights heroes.
Gail Hughes Donaldson is a Managing Partner of the Bond & Botes Law Offices in Montgomery and Opelika, Alabama. She holds a Bachelor of Science from Auburn University at Montgomery, and a Juris Doctorate from Thomas Goode Jones School of Law. She’s been helping families work through the bankruptcy process since she started with Bond & Botes back in 1993 as a paralegal. Read her full bio here.