All Souls Unitarian honors former minister killed in civil rights movement

Local church members are remembering a minister killed in the civil rights movement nearly half a century ago.

Rev. James Reeb died days after he and two other ministers were attacked in Selma, Alabama.

Sunday morning, the Rev. Clark Olsen, one of the survivors, preached at All Souls Unitarian Church in Northwest Washington where Rev. Reeb once ministered.

Olsen still recalls the terrible events this exact day, 49 years ago, when he, Rev. Reeb, and another minister, were attacked by four Ku Klux Klansmen, moments after leaving an African-American-owned diner.

Reeb's death caused a national outcry. Dr. Martin Luther King called the attack cowardly. President Lyndon Johnson seized the moment to urge passage of the Voting Rights Act, which passed in August 1965.

"There is still a struggle," says Rev. Robert Hardies of All Souls."Over 20 states have passed legislation in recent years, that make it harder mostly for poor folks and people of color to have access to a ballot."

In the church hallway is a small plaque honoring Reeb. And with one look around the diverse, inclusive congregation you see a legacy of love.