Sunday, March 10, 2013


In 1963 Tom and I were finishing school in Chapel Hill, graduate and law school, headed on the path to our years of working in South Carolina segregationist private schools and for Governor George C. Wallace of Alabama. We recently discovered that in 1963 another Turnipseed, Tom’s cousin not so far removed, was a college student of a very different kind.  This April her college is honoring her for her brave stand during the civil rights era. And to think this happened in my very own hometown.  Wow, do I wish we could go!

 Birmingham-Southern College students to march to downtown Birmingham in April to commemorate 1963 stand by BSC student

Birmingham News

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- In 1963, a 19-year-old student named Martha "Marti" Turnipseed heard on the radio that seven African-American students were staging a sit-in at a Woolworth's department store lunch counter in downtown Birmingham

Turnipseed, who was white, made a decision to join them. She walked off of Birmingham-Southern's campus and trekked two miles to downtown Birmingham, and sat down at the counter with those students.
For her efforts, Turnipseed was arrested and eventually expelled from BSC, although she was readmitted a year later.

On April 24, 2013, Birmingham-Southern students will recreate Turnipseed's walk as part of the 50th anniversary commemoration of the Birmingham civil rights events of 1963. BSC President Gen. Charles Krulak and Birmingham Mayor William Bell announced the plans for the march at a press conference Thursday afternoon. 

"Often times we talk about the foot soldiers, and we think in terms of the foot soldiers being predominantly African-Americans, but there were many others who joined arms with them to say we're not going to tolerate segregation any longer in our community," Bell said.
A photo of Marti Turnipseed from BSC's 1963 yearbook.

"This is a young lady who, at the time, was a student here at Birmingham-Southern, and could have just easily turned away, and said that's somebody else's problem, and that's somebody else's headache," Bell said. "But she chose to get involved."

Marti Turnipseed later married Charles Moore and changed her name to Marti Turnipseed Moore. 

According to a BSC spokesperson, Marti died in a car wreck in 1972, and her husband is also deceased. Marti's brother, Spencer, is invited to the march.

Bell said he and Krulak plan to jointly invite current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to participate in the march.

The path is expected to be about 2.3 miles long, ending at Kelly Ingram Park.** Area gospel choirs, high school and elementary school students will be asked to join in the march along the way, Krulak said. Buses will be provided to return the marchers, choirs and students to where they began.

The march is being dubbed the "Forward, Ever Birmingham!" march after the"forward ever" cry in BSC's alma mater

"One of the hallmarks of a liberal arts education is that it's not just about the knowledge you gain, but how you apply that knowledge in helping to change the world," Bell said. "And Marti Turnipseed understood that. She stood up when others did not, and it caused people to think."

"This is not about what happened yesterday," Krulak said. "It's about what's happening today and what will happen the day after tomorrow. We know how important Birmingham was in moving this nation to do the right thing. Now, it's time to show that we're continuing to move forward."

**Across the street from the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church where the four young girls were killed when it was bombed that same year.

1 comment:

  1. What a very brave young lady she was. I can't imagine having that kind of courage.


Because of many spam comments, we have had to add comment moderation.I agree with Pooh, "Oh bother!" Please be patient.