Will Campbell, son of a rural Mississippi farming family, ordained Baptist minister, the only white founding member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, marched with and stood beside John Lewis, Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Little Rock nine, writer, activist, and minister who proclaimed a faith in Christ who died for bigots as well as devout people.
Vernon Johns, In 1951 in Montgomery, Alabama, police officers stopped a black man for speeding and beat him near death with a tire iron in front of members of Montgomery’s black community. The pastor at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, Vernon Johns, made sure all week that the coming Sunday’s sermon title was displayed all week on the church street sign: ‘It’s Safe to Murder Negroes in Montgomery.’
Flannery O'Connor, Roman Catholic from Milledgeville, Georgia, master of short stories set in the people and personalities of her rural Georgia landscape, in which those on the top rung of the Southern social structure find themselves miraculously upended by a disruptive grace that stuns those who have reduced faith to something neat, tidy, and manageable. O’Connor suffered with lupus, died at the age of 39, and once wrote: ‘I come from a family where the only emotion respectable to show is irritation. In some this tendency produces hives, in others literature, in me, both.’