Jonathan Myrick Daniels
My dear Holyrood family,
The episcopal liturgical calendar honors today the life of Jonathan Myrick Daniels an Episcopal seminarian and civil rights activist. On a day like today, on August 14, 1965, Daniels was one of a group of 29 protesters, including members of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), who went to Fort Deposit, Alabama, to picket its whites-only stores. All of the protesters were arrested. They were transported in a garbage truck and taken to jail in the nearby town of Hayneville.
He was murdered by a shotgun-wielding construction worker, Tom Coleman, who was a special county deputy, in Hayneville, Alabama, while in the act of shielding 17-year-old Ruby Sales. He saved the life of the young black civil rights activist. They both were working in the civil rights movement in Lowndes County to integrate public places and register black voters after passage of the Voting Rights Act that summer. Daniels' death generated further support for the civil rights movement.
In 1991, Daniels was designated as a martyr in the Episcopal church and is recognized annually in its calendar, realizing what Mark's Gospel (8:35) tells us: For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.
We appreciate his great commitment, dedication and example. I invite you to visit our meditation space dedicated to him in our church. And in the meantime, let's meditate on what Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. told us: who does not have a reason to die should not live.
In solidarity love,