James Luther Bevel (October 19, 1936 – December 19, 2008) was a minister and a leader of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. As the Director of Direct Action and of Nonviolent Education of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), he initiated, strategized, directed, and developed SCLC's three major successes of the era: the 1963 Birmingham Children's Crusade, the 1965 Selma voting rights movement, and the 1966 Chicago open housing movement. He suggested that SCLC call for and join a March on Washington in 1963. Bevel strategized the 1965 Selma to Montgomery marches, which contributed to Congressional passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

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  • James Luther Bevel (October 19, 1936 – December 19, 2008) was a minister and a leader of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. As the Director of Direct Action and of Nonviolent Education of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), he initiated, strategized, directed, and developed SCLC's three major successes of the era: the 1963 Birmingham Children's Crusade, the 1965 Selma voting rights movement, and the 1966 Chicago open housing movement. He suggested that SCLC call for and join a March on Washington in 1963. Bevel strategized the 1965 Selma to Montgomery marches, which contributed to Congressional passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Prior to his time with SCLC, Bevel worked in the Nashville Student Movement, which conducted the 1960 Nashville Lunch-Counter Sit-Ins, the 1961 Open Theater Movement, and recruited students to continue the 1961 Freedom Rides after they were severely attacked. He initiated and directed some of the 1961 and 1962 voting rights movement in Mississippi. In 1967, Bevel was chair of the Spring Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam. He initiated the 1967 March on the United Nations as part of the anti-war movement. His last major action was as co-initiator of the 1995 Day of Atonement/Million Man March in Washington, DC. For his work Bevel has been called a father of voting rights, the strategist and architect of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement, and half of the first-tier team that formulated many of the strategies and actions to gain federal legislation and social changes during the 1960s civil rights era. In 2005 Bevel was accused of incest by one of his daughters and abuse by three others. He was tried in April 2008. Bevel was convicted of unlawful fornication; pursuant to the recommendation of the jury, which could have sentenced him to anywhere from 5 to 20 years, he was sentenced to 15 years in prison and fined $50,000. After serving seven months he was freed awaiting an appeal; he died of pancreatic cancer in December 2008. He was buried in Eutaw, Alabama. (en)
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  • James Luther Bevel (October 19, 1936 – December 19, 2008) was a minister and a leader of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. As the Director of Direct Action and of Nonviolent Education of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), he initiated, strategized, directed, and developed SCLC's three major successes of the era: the 1963 Birmingham Children's Crusade, the 1965 Selma voting rights movement, and the 1966 Chicago open housing movement. He suggested that SCLC call for and join a March on Washington in 1963. Bevel strategized the 1965 Selma to Montgomery marches, which contributed to Congressional passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. (en)
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