KING IN SOUTHSIDE

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March 27-29, 1962

PEOPLE TO PEOPLE TOUR OF VIRGINIA

In support of a voter registration drive, Dr. King toured Virginia’s Fourth Congressional District, making stops throughout southern Virginia. Over the course of his visit, he gave lectures addressing thousands of students and members of the public.

On March 27, 1962, Dr. King gave a talk at E.C. Glass High School in Lynchburg:

On March 28, 1962, Dr. King visited First Baptist Church in Farmville:

On March 29, Dr. King gave remarks at two stops in Dinwiddie, and another talk at Virginia State College in Petersburg. At the end of his visit, Dr. King visited Hopewell in a show of support for Rev. Curtis West Harris, who was then facing a contempt trial after refusing to give up information on individuals associated with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to a Virginia legislative committee.

People to People Tour:

March 26, 1963

DANVILLE CITY AUDITORIUM, DANVILLE

The Danville Christian Progressive Association, an affiliate of the SCLC, brought Dr. King to Danville to speak to an audience of 2,500 at the Danville City Auditorium. According to Bishop Campbell, a leader in the DCPA, Dr. King stayed in Greensboro, North Carolina, because Danville hotels would not permit him to stay there.

July 11, 1963

HIGH STREET BAPTIST CHURCH, DANVILLE

In response to the police violence against protestors on “Bloody Monday,” (June 10, 1963, in Danville), Dr. King visited Danville and spoke at High Street Baptist Church, telling his audience, “As long as the Negro is not free in Danville, Virginia, the Negro is not free anywhere in the United States of America.” Following Dr. King’s talk, close to 100 attendees marched on Danville’s city hall, and 23 were arrested in the peaceful demonstration. Dr. King had told the crowd earlier that day, “If you want to be free, you’ve got to march and fill up the Danville jail.”

November 15, 1963

HIGH STREET BAPTIST CHURCH, DANVILLE

Dr. King returned to High Street Baptist Church in Danville for the third time in 1963 to take part in a civil rights rally. King was in Danville to prepare for “massive, direct action” in the fight against segregation. The SCLC planned for a major civil rights effort in Danville, comparable to its actions in Birmingham, but the full-scale plan was never implemented.

King in Southside information flyer (pdf) »

Beloved Community Conversations

On April 24, 2018, the Virginia Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Commission held a Beloved Community Conversation at First Baptist Church in Farmville, which Dr. King had visited on March 28, 1962, during his People to People Tour. The panel reflected on Dr. King's time in Farmville and asked, "Where do we go from here?" in achieving Dr. King's vision of a Beloved Community..


Featuring speakers and panelists Reverend James Ashton, First Baptist Church; Megan Clark, Commonwealth's Attorney, Prince Edward County; James Ghee, President, Prince Edward County Branch NAACP; Skip Griffin, Civil Rights Leader and Son of Rev. L. Francis Griffin; Dorothy Holcomb, Chair, Moton Museum Council; Cameron Patterson, Managing Director, Moton Museum; Senator Mark J. Peake; Dr. J. Michael Utzinger, Elliott Professor of Religion, Hampden-Sydney College; and Farmville Mayor David Whitus. Moderated by Commission Chair Senator Jennifer L. McClellan.

 

The Commission visited High Street Baptist Church in Danville on July 11, 2018, where Bishop Lawrence Campbell and Reverend Thurman Echols reflected on Dr. King's Time in Danville.


Featuring speakers and panelists Bishop Lawrence Campbell, Bible Way Cathedral; Reverend Thurman O. Echols, Moral Hill Missionary Baptist Church; Emma Edmunds, History United; Senator Janet Howell, Thirty-Second District of Virginia; Reverend Avon Keen, Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Virginia Chapter; Mayor Alonzo Jones, City of Danville; Dr. Cecilia Moore, University of Dayton; Councilman Sherman Saunders, City of Danville; and Senator Bill Stanley, Twentieth District of Virginia. Senator Jennifer McClellan moderated the discussion.

 

The Commission held another discussion in Lynchburg on August 1, 2018, at E.C. Glass High School, another of Dr. King's stops on the 1962 People to People Tour. Panelist Chuck Moran gave a firsthand account of meeting Dr. King in Lynchburg.


Featuring speakers and panelists Dr. James Coleman, Providence Transformation Church International; Dr. Crystal Edwards, Superintendent, Lynchburg City Schools; Delores Fowler, Civic and Community Leader; Chuck Moran, Witness to Dr. King's Visit to Lynchburg; Manan Shah, University of Virginia Student; Dr. Aaron Smith, Diversity and Inclusion Officer, University of Lynchburg; and Mayor Treney Tweedy, City of Lynchburg. Moderated by Commission Chair Senator Jennifer L. McClellan.