Thinking of Saints: Jonathan Daniels & Ruby Sales

Jonathan_Daniels_The_Martyr

Today the lovely Episcopal Church commemorates as a feast in honor of a martyr, the life and death of Virginia Military Academy graduate and Episcopal seminarian Jonathan Myrick Daniels.

It was 1965. He was twenty-six years old and a second year student at the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, when he joined those who answered the call of the Reverend Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. to come to Selma. While there Jonathan worked to help desegregate the Episcopal congregations of the city.

In July, after returning to Cambridge to take semester exams, he returned to Alabama, working tirelessly for civil rights.

Ruby Sales

On this day in 1965 he and twenty-eight other protesters picketed white only stores in Fort Deposit. They were all arrested. On the 20th the prisoners were released from where they were being held, in Hayneville a town near to Fort Deposit. He along with a Catholic priest and two young black women walked to a store to purchase a soft drink.

Tom Coleman a volunteer special deputy threatened the group and leveled a shotgun at seventeen year-old Ruby Sales. Jonathan pushed the girl out of the way as the deputy fired the gun, killing the seminarian instantly.

An all white jury found Deputy Coleman not guilty of manslaughter. He faced no further prosecution, and died in 1997 at eighty-six.

The girl, Ruby Sales, would grow up to become a Civil Rights icon. She attended Episcopal Divinity, although chose not to ordain. She has dedicated much of her work to the memory of Jonathan Daniels.

No doubt their lives have forever been intertwined.

Today Ms Sales is director of the SpiritHouse Project centered in Decatur, Georgia, where she continues to do the good work.

Today I think of them both, & am so grateful for their lives…

 

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