Pilgrims honor martyr Jonathan Daniels – Alabama News

Pilgrims honor martyr Jonathan Daniels – Alabama News

Alvin Benn, Special to the Advertiser
Published 7:02 p.m. CT Aug. 12, 2017

HAYNEVILLE – More than 200 civil rights activists walked through Hayneville on Saturday, singing freedom songs along the way as part of a tribute to Jonathan Daniels who was fatally shot after he and other protesters were released from jail in 1965.

It was the 21st anniversary of a pilgrimage launched to praise Daniels for his efforts to bring about racial understanding.

Instead of an “understanding” on a hot August day, Daniels got a shotgun blast at point blank range from Tom Coleman, a part-time deputy sheriff.

Daniels would become one of several civil rights activists fatally shot, beaten or tossed into jails during one of the most violent years in Alabama’s history.

A Catholic priest who was with Daniels was shot in the back by a second blast from Coleman’s shotgun. The priest survived but has had physical problems since that time.

A printed program sponsored by the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama and other supporters described Daniels as the “Martyr of Hayneville.”

Several states were represented at the event and those taking part included children in strollers as well as grade school students. Several senior citizens also walked, including a couple who used an umbrella for shade from the sun.

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