Thursday, February 15, 2024

the last book I ever read (King: A Life by Jonathan Eig, excerpt fifteen)

from King: A Life by Jonathan Eig:

That same night, March 25, Viola Liuzzo drove back to Selma, her 1963 Oldsmobile crammed with marchers. Liuzzo was thirty-nine years old, married, a mother of five from Detroit. A white woman, Liuzzo challenged her children to consider their racial prejudices. How would they feel, she asked them, if all the Santas at the mall were Black? What if fashion magazines put only Black girls on the cover? When Liuzzo told her family she was going to Selma in response to Martin Luther King’s call for volunteers, her husband, a Teamsters Union business agent, balked.

It wasn’t her fight, he said.

“It’s everybody’s fight,” she answered.

After dropping off a carload of marchers in Selma, Liuzzo and another SCLC volunteer headed back to Montgomery to fetch more people. On a quiet stretch of highway in rural Lowndes County, four Klansmen in another car spotted Liuzzo and her companion. Outraged, apparently, at the sight of a white woman with a Black male passenger, the Klansmen shot at the Oldsmobile. Liuzzo was killed. Her passenger survived.

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