Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 5
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Pio Past: Students, faculty join in Selma sympathy march

Originally published March 18, 1965
Author unknown

For almost 120 years, The Pioneer has reported on news from the Whitman campus and surrounding community. Pio Past pulls old articles from past decades from the Penrose Library archives to give modern readers a glimpse of campus history.

Three-thirty this past Sunday afternoon marked the culmination of the hastily formed and highly successful memorial march concerning Selma. The march was the idea of the college “Y” advisor, Dr. McKenzie and Bruce Jones, chairman of the campus friends of SNCC (Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee).

The march from Ankeny Field to the County Court House involved some four hundred participants and numerous other observers, sympathizers, and sceptics.

Student and faculty interest was tested on the Friday preceding the march with positive results. On Saturday, faculty members were called, students were contacted through fraternity and sorority presidents and by people socially concerned, ministers were asked to announce the march to their congregations and Dr. Pfuhl, president of the Human Relations League of Walla Walla, contacted its members.

The Walla Walla radio stations were advised of the march as was KEPR (Tri-cities television), the Union-Bulletin, and the Walla Walla Police Department (which issued a parade permit).

People started congregating on Ankeny Field at 2:15 Sunday afternoon and before leaving for the Court House Jones instructed the three-hundred marchers that the march concerned a memorial recognition of James Jackson and Boston minister Rev. Reeb; both were murdered by racists. The march was to demonstrate the general sympathy for the civil rights movement and was silent so that each individual marcher could consider his personal responsibility or commitment.

The march was led by Doctors McKenzie, Ball, Pfuhl and Professor Don Blake. The marchers proceeded silently and slowly to the Court House under the excellent supervision of the Walla Walla Police.

An additional one-hundred people joined the marchers at the Court House and heard Dr. Ball speak. The second speaker was Blake, biology professor at Walla Walla College who reminded the listeners that concern for civil rights was not an end in itself but required a commitment of action.

Blake reminded the audience that discrimination is not a unique Southern characteristic and that its subtle forms exist in Walla Walla as well as throughout the North. Blake led the audience in “We Shall Overcome” as four-hundred joined hands.

The demonstration, emotional for some and significant to all, ended after the traditional civil rights song.

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