Historic Markers Across Alabama

Sanctuary to Stage

Marker ID:  
Location: 410 Martin Luther King Jr. St, Selma, AL
County: Dallas
Coordinates: N 32° 24.738    W 087° 0.989
  32.4123    -87.01648333
Style: Interpretative Sign **
Waymark: None


Sanctuary to Stage
Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail

The shooting of Jimmie Lee Jackson in nearby Marion, Alabama, transformed Brown Chapel from a sanctuary into a staging area for the Selma march, In a passionate sermon SCLC worker James Bevel suggested making a pilgrimage to the State Capitol to honor Lee. They would take their grief and grievances to Governor Wallace's doorstep. Bevel's idea of a march to Montgomery took hold. In a matter of days Brown Chapel became the headquarters for the event, with civil rights workers collecting sleeping bags, tents, and raingear.

On March 7, 1965, SCLC leader Hosea Williams and SNCC chairman John Lewis left Brown Chapel and led marchers over the Edmund Pettus Bridge. The violence of Bloody Sunday sent them streaming back to the Chapel, but it also swelled the ranks. Citizens from throughout the United States arrived in Selma to wait a Brown Chapel for another chance to march—which came two days later.

I'm going to Montgomery to see Wallace, and I'm gonna walk if I want to.
James Bevel, February 26, 1965

After Jimmie Lee Jackson's death, James Bevel took to the pulpit with a defiant voice, announcing his plans to march to Montgomery.

2014 National Park Service, Department of the Interior.

Photographs of the marker can be found on HMDB.org

End of Sanctuary to Stage