David Colston Sr.
( — 1966)


As remembered by Maria Gitin
August 18, 2013

In Memory of Civil Rights Martyr David Colston Sr., Camden, AL Murdered January 23, 1966

Mr. David Colston, age 32, was a Wilcox County AL resident who had participated in Wilcox County voting rights protests. On January 23, 1966 he and his family were pulling into the parking area outside Antioch Baptist Church to attend a mass meeting. A white farmer, Jim Reeves, deliberately bumped Colston's car. When Colston got out to protest, Reeves shot Mr. Colston in the head at close range in front of the Colston family and dozens of community members coming out of the church.

SCLC leader, Daniel Harrell and local leader Rev. Frank Smith were leaders of the meeting in the church. After the police took Reeves into "protective custody." Harrell and Smith reconvened the mass meeting with a eulogy for Mr. Colston and called for a march the next day. Camden native, King scholar, and author, Lewis V. Baldwin, who was still in high school at the time, recalled the march of hundreds of Wilcox County Black residents, as being very solemn, almost silent.

The next day, SCLC Photographer Bob Fitch arrived with Martin Luther King Jr., to take the photos that appeared in Jet Magazine. Fitch said that the family was devastated but grateful for King's consoling visit.

Nearly 50 years later, Colston's namesake nephew, David Colston, was elected as the first Black representative from Wilcox County to serve in the Alabama State Legislature.

Maria Gitin

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