The NC Council of Churches is proud to publish a brand new e-book collection of testimonies from Moral Mondays. With 32 short vignettes from North Carolinians across the state, Voices of Moral Mondays tells the story of everyday folks being motivated to speak out on account of their faith. Many, though not all, of the accounts describe what it was like to engage in civil disobedience and be arrested by the authorities. Click here to download the free e-book.
By Dr. Leonard Beeghley, Pilgrim United Church of Christ, Durham
During the summer of 1969, I found myself in Fayette, Mississippi, where I met Mr. Charles Evers. Just elected the first Black mayor of a southern town since reconstruction, he proudly called himself “the most hated man in Mississippi.” His election symbolized the spread of democracy into the South.
I stayed in Fayette for a short while, helping the new administration get organized and watched Neil Armstrong’s moon walk in Mr. Evers’ home. Now, I am an old man with grandchildren, living at a time when our democracy is again threatened – here in North Carolina and other states, especially in the South.
Moral Monday is really about my grandchildren: their future, the kind of state they will inherit. I told them that voting is the most sacred act in a democracy. I described some of the people who fought and sacrificed to ensure that everyone has the right to vote, like Mr. Evers, his brother Medger, and others as well.
Although it is hard for children to understand, I explained that sometimes the law is used to oppress people and that attempts to keep citizens from voting provide a good example. I made plain that such actions are wrong and immoral.
In this context, I pointed out, Dr. King taught us that non-violent civil disobedience constitutes an honorable way to protest, a way of following in the tradition of Jesus. When the police arrested me and almost a thousand others this summer, we told those with power that they must change, that by restricting the vote they stand on the wrong side of history. With luck, all our grandchildren will remember that, in a small way, we stood up for what is right on Moral Mondays.