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How a Minister Got His Church's Permission to Join the Civil Rights Movement


The Rev. Dr. Robert A. Colman, 76
Location: East Montpelier, Vermont
Interview facilitated by Stephen Colman and Ursula Williams

In 1965, violence erupted between police and civil rights protesters marching from Selma, Alabama, to the Capitol in Montgomery. This event, known as "Bloody Sunday," was broadcast across the country, inspiring many Americans to join the movement. One such person was the Rev. Dr. Robert A. Colman.

Growing up, the Rev. Colman was taught that all people, regardless of race, were God's children, and thus, when he saw the clashes for equal rights turn ugly, he knew he had to join the movement. However, before embarking on a journey from his small town in Pennsylvania to the front lines in Selma, the Rev. Colman wanted to get the support of his church, where he had recently been made assistant minister.

"I had decided because of controversies in other local churches that if they had decided not to support me, I would not go," the Rev. Colman says, "for the sake of the church's unity."

Watch to find out why the Rev. Colman was surprised by their response.

Hear more stories from people who were at the ground level of the civil rights marches
Published 01/19/2015
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