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My friend, Margaret McAlone, graciously invited me to go with her to this historic and inspiring evening.

Imagining having, all together in one room, these dynamic and caring women:

Congresswoman Barbara Lee

Congresswoman Barbara Lee

Congresswoman Barbara Lee

Retired TV news anchor Belva Davis

Belva Davis

Belva Davis

Daughter of the Reverend Abernathy, actress, producer, director, writer, Donzaleigh Abernathy

Donzaleigh Abernathy

Donzaleigh Abernathy

Daughter of President Lyndon Baines Johnson, business woman and activist, Luci Baines Johnson

Luci Baines Johnson

Luci Baines Johnson

Daughter of Senator Robert Kennedy, human rights activist and writer, Kerry Kennedy

Kerry Kennedy

Kerry Kennedy

Daughter of Governor George Wallace, activist for promoting racial healing, Peggy Wallace Kennedy.

Peggy Wallace Kennedy

Peggy Wallace Kennedy

The evening was put on by The Barbara Lee and Elihu Harris Lecture Series produced by Merritt College and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Freedom Center in Oakland, California.  The focus was the East Bay Commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the 1963 events of the Civil Rights Movement.

Belva Davis was the moderator and we were lucky to hear her story before she began her introductions.   Ms. Abernathy spoke as I imagine he father must have – a very powerful and mesmerizing speech with a slide show of horrifying images of segregation in the South. She spoke of Martin Luther King, Jr., her godfather, and the time the family home was bombed and of her close friend who was seriously injured in the bombing of the church.

Ms. Johnson spoke of her experiences and what she knew of her father’s actions and feelings at the time.  Ms. Kennedy spoke of her remembrances and of her father’s actions while Ms. Wallace Kennedy spoke of living in the shadow of the day her father stood in the doorway blocking two African-American students from entering the university and integrating the school.  She now works to promote racial healing.

All the women were incredible speakers telling remarkable stories about a time of necessary change in our country.  I can’t imagine there was a dry eye during some of the talks and everyone left inspired.

To add to the evening the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir Ensemble honored us with their singing gospel and spiritual music.  It was a night I was thankful I experienced and am grateful for the work these women are doing to bring about continued changes.

For more on this event of the Daughters of the Civil Rights Movement please read the articles byLou Fancher in the Contra Costa Times and the article by Kevin L. Nichols.