Historic Tabernacle Baptist Church Commemorates First Mass Meeting

From the West Alabama Newsroom–

A historic church in Selma is commemorating the anniversary of the first mass meeting of the Voting Rights Movement. In addition to honoring some of the foot soldiers.

Tabernacle Baptist Church — stepped into history 58 years ago — when it held the very first mass meeting of the Selma Voting Rights Movement.

“The first mass meeting was May 14th, 1963,” said Dr. Verdell Dawson.

Wal Massmeetpre Fox Pkg1The church is having a program to commemorating the day — Thursday evening at 6:30.

“The purpose of this is to tell the untold story of Tabernacle and the contributions that Tabernacle made to the Voting Rights Movement,” said Dawson.

Rev. Otis Culliver is the pastor at the historic church.

“If you don’t tell your story, you leave it for others to tell it for you,” he said.

The celebration will also include the unveiling of a new video — detailing the first-hand accounts of some church members — who took part in the movement.

“We have approximately eight to ten members of our church who are foot soldiers and they participated in the movement. These are now our senior citizens who were the youth that really drove the Voting Rights Movement,” Dawson said.

“Many who have served and walked and fought peacefully in anonymity,” said Culliver.

“We felt that it’s only right that the world get to know these persons that are still with us — who were instrumental for changing the world — and can be inspirational for future generations.

The ceremony will be live streamed for the public on the church’s Facebook page.

In-person attendance at the church — is invitation-only due to COVID-19 restrictions.

A grant from the National Park Service through the African-American Civil Rights Fund — funded the video project.

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