Seneca, Birmingham, and “The March” remembered

Governor Nikki Haley issues a proclamation today to designate “Let Freedom Ring Day.” The governor encourages South Carolinians to recognize and honor Dr. Martin Luther King’s dedication to improving society by ringing bells across the state at 3 this afternoon. Last night, at the Seneca Library, about 15 people gathered for a program to remember the March on Washington 50 years ago today, as well as what life was like in Seneca before the federal government passed laws bestowing equal rights to African Americans. Among last night’s speakers was a woman who lived in Birmingham, Alabama during segregation and took part in marches that landed her in jail. Ann Benson knew the civil rights leader King and embraced his call for non-violent resistance. A college student at the time, Benson spoke of the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church that killed four girls, an incident that reverberated around the country and helped marshal a movement to change Birmingham’s reputation as being the most segregated city in the country.