Civil rights leader honored in Selma

Colia Lafayette Clark was honored in Selma.
Published: Sep. 15, 2023 at 9:44 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 15, 2023 at 10:11 PM CDT
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SELMA, Ala. (WSFA) - A civil rights leader who started the Selma student civil rights movement was honored with a day of events, including a march, nonviolent workshops, a mass meeting and a banquet.

Colia Lafayette Clark helped organize a nonviolent sit-in at Carter’s Drug Store in Selma that took place on Sept. 16, 1963, one day after the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing that killed four little girls in Birmingham.

Students from Ellwood Christian Academy sat in on a mass meeting learning about Clark’s role and its importance to events that led up to Bloody Sunday and the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

“A lot of times when we hear about the Civil Rights Movement, we hear about the teachers, but we don’t hear a lot about what was happening with organizing of the students,” said Dallas County District Judge Vernetta Perkins.

Perkins said she believe it’s important that children learn about their history because it helps them view the world with a different “lens,” so they learn how they can become leaders in the future.

“It’s up to us to raise the leaders, this new generation of leaders, to be thinkers and thought leaders about where we can be and who we can become,” said Perkins.

The city of Selma officially proclaimed Sept. 16 as Colia Lafayette Clark Day.

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