Freedom Walkers

A question that sometimes people like me get asked is: “Churches do a lot of good works out there. What are atheists doing that is so good in the world?” Another question is, “The past is dead, so why study history; isn’t it already over with and better to think about the problems of today?” With a hat tip to Hemant Mehta, I can point you to something that answers both questions at once.

In 1963, a group of civil rights activists undertook to walk from Chattanooga, Tennessee to Jackson, Mississippi. They were going to hand-deliver a letter to the Governor of Mississippi urging that the state integrate its races instead of resisting the rising tide of civil rights. They never made it. The lead Freedom Walker was shot dead in Alabama and the shooter was never charged with a crime. Some of the others were arrested at the Alabama-Mississippi border and while imprisoned, fed muffins in which shards of broken glass had been baked. Only two “Freedom Walkers” survive today.

Well, a group of Alabama atheists have picked up where the civil rights activists left off. They are completing the walk, will meet up with the two survivors, and together deliver the letter, at long last, to the Governor, who is expecting them and will likely give them a warmer greeting than the original walkers would have received.

The past is not dead; it lives with us today. And these atheists, now the most despised minority in America, are doing something to remind the rest of us that we can and should try to do better than our ancestors did.

Burt Likko

Pseudonymous Portlander. Homebrewer. Atheist. Recovering litigator. Recovering Republican. Recovering Catholic. Recovering divorcé. Recovering Former Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. House Likko's Words: Scite Verum. Colite Iusticia. Vivere Con Gaudium.