Tuesday, September 29, 2009

On Being an Activist

You can kill a man but you can't kill an idea.
~ Medgar Evers

I have been a social and political activist since I was 17 years old. My activism began on the evening of June 12, 1963, while I was at a church camp at Lincoln State Park in Indiana. I can be specific about the date because it was the day that civil rights activist Medgar Evers was assassinated.

That evening we built a large bonfire around which all of the campers and staff sat in a circle. A couple of the staff had gone to a local town to buy marshmellows for toasting. While they were away from the camp (which had no radios or TVs), they learned of the murder of Mr. Evers, who was shot down in the driveway of his home in Mississippi. They announced the news to all of us who were sitting around the camp fire.

I did not know anything about Medgar Evers. All I knew of the Civil Rights movement came from watching TV and reading newspapers. At the church camp, however, several of the staff had been directly involved in the Civil Rights movement. They were all seminary students. Two of the staff knew, and had worked with, Medgar Evers.They shared their memories of him along with stories of their involvement in the Civil Rights movement. Other seminary students also shared the stories of their work for civil rights. I soon found that I had tears in my eyes and a commitment in my heart.

I became a social activist that night as we all held hands around that fire and sang Go Down Moses and We Shall Overcome.

Through the years I have marched with other activists, spoken words of justice and peace, organized and chaired organizations, written letters and articles, and made telephone calls. Today my health prevents me from doing much that I did in the past. However, I can still write letters and articles and make phone calls to Congress. And, I can blog.

In the next two months there are two opportunities for activist bloggers to join together regarding (1) climate change and (2) world peace. I invite you to follow the links below and join me in taking action.

November 5, 2009
The Peace Globe Gallery

My 2009 Peace Globe


  1. I do not have a blog. If I did I would participate. I look forward to what you will write.

  2. The story of your experience at church camp is a powerful one, Rev Saint. I appreciate reading it.

  3. I believe I would have become a civil rights activist too if I had learned of the murder of Medgar Evers in the way that you did. Sitting around that campfire signing those songs much have been very moving. Thank you, Saintly, Nick for becoming who you are.

  4. i beati: Thank you!

    Abby: I appreciate your reading Nick's Bytes.

    azsonofagun: Thank you, Rex. I don't believe that I have ever before shared the experience I had when Medgar Evers was murdered. It had a life-changing impact on me. And when it was followed so closely by the assassinations of JFK, MLK, and RFK, my life's work was set before me.

  5. i Fiochra: Thank you, my friend. I am humbled by your words.

    Akelamalu: Thank you, my dear friend.

  6. You made a very nice peace globe.

  7. Jon-Michael: Thank you. Now I am helping Alex create his peace globe.

  8. Sir, you began your activism at a young age!

  9. I, too, remember the day that Medgar Evers was assassinated. We really didn't think that the same thing would happen to MLK.

    That is a very creative Peace Globe you have.

    Peace to you, my friend.

  10. Jean Marc: You may be right, my friend. However, through the years I have met several social activists who were younger than my 17 years when they began their activism.

  11. Ex-Louisville Guy: You were much older than I when Medgar Evers was assassinated! You are right; I believe no one then foresaw that the Rev. Dr. King was also to become a martyr.

  12. We were unaquainted with the murder of Mr. Evers. We appreciate hearing about that noble man and also learning how you became the fine activist that your are.