I am Lula Joe Williams, I grew up in Montgomery, Alaabama and became active in the Civil Rights Movement at an early age. I was in the First Baptist Church in 1961 when the Freedom Riders came to Montgomery. I remember how the policemen threw tear gas into the church, in an effort to get us to leave. We stayed there until around 4:00 AM the next morning. We had to be escorted out by the federal troops. Montgomery had be put under martial law and they had been ordered to get us home safely.
So in 1964 when SCLC sent in Rev. James Bevel, Rev. James Orange, Anne and Erick Kindberg, Dan and Jaunita Harold and others, Young people were ready for the civil rights movement. We were on fire for freedom. Our goal was to intergrate the schools, sit-in at lunch counters, and not be intimidate and to get as many black registered as possible. We knew that a change had to come to Montgomery and we were ready to make the change.
Mrs. Amelia Boynton, with the Dallas County Voters League had come to a Citizenship Education Workshop in Dorchester, Georgia and talked about the problems they were having and asked Dr. King and SCLC to come to Selma and help them. SNCC was already there, but they were having problem going on the street. There was an injuction against them and the people of Selma. Any time more than three blacks gathered on the streets, they would be arrested and thrown in jail. So there wasn't to much success in getting black registered.
Dr. King sent Rev. James Bevels, James Orange, Andrew Marrisett, MeatBalls and a few others into Selma to check things out and set up a mass rally. I was in that first group of young people who went in with them and broke that injunction. We didn't know what the outcome would be, but we were willing to put our lives on the line. After that, I started working on the staff of SCLC.
I worked all around the state of Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Texas. I worked to helped bring about change in our communities, so that other young people would not have to go through what we went through.
Today, I am Vice President of SCLC's Veterens of the Civil Rights Movement. Other members are: Rev. Willie Bolden, Rev. James Orange, Rev. R. B. Cottonreader, Mr. J. T. Johnson, Mrs. Rita Jackson Samuels, Dr. Joseph E. Lowery, State Representive Tyrone Brooks, Ms. Terrie Randolph, Mr.John Bascom, Dr. Alma Jean Billingslea-Brown, Mrs. A. Belle Harrison, Mr. Robert Johnson, Elder Bill Harris(Freedom Singer), Mr. Billy Hollins, Alderwoman Dorothy Wright Tillman, Mr. Emory Harris(Freedom Singer), Mr. Frederick Moore, Ms. Tina Lewis, Ms. Patricia Fenison, Ms. Pearl McCollum, Rev. Fred D. Taylor, Mr. Ralph Worrell, Mrs. Cleo Orange, Mr. Jimmy Wells, Mr. Herbert Colton and others. There are those who walked with us, but are no longer here in our midth, but we can feel their presence. They are: Mrs. Claudette Mathews, Mr. Leon Hall, Mr. R. S. Smith, Ms. Elaine Tomlin, Rev. Fred C. Bennett, Rev. Bernard S. Lee, Mr. Ben Clark, Mr. Charles Clark, Mrs. Miriam Smith, Mr. Golden Frinks, Mr. Andrea Hooker, Mr. Dick Gaye, Mr. Charles Jackson, Mr. Apache Red, Mr. Lester Hankerson (Big Lester) and Mr. Dana Swann. There are others and as they come to me, I will try and update.
If any of you SCLC or SCOPE Family Members are interested in becoming a part of this organized group, please just e-mail me or call me. It would be great to hear from you. Until then, I remain faithful to the cause of Freedom, Justice and Equality for All.