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November 29, 2017

Mr. Lawrence Huggins is the kind of man who doesn’t know a stranger. His demeanor is gentle and welcoming. As we toured the Brown Chapel in Selma, he heard of our arrival and went out of his way to meet with us for more than 40 minutes and share his story about his time as a foot solider in Selma. Foot soldiers were individuals who believed so strongly in the cause that they offered themselves up fully to the Civil Rights cause itself. They risked their jobs, homes, relationships, and even their lives. For foot soldiers, “sanctuary” took on a whole new meaning at Brown Chapel. Mr. Huggins seemed to have a photographic memory about what he experienced, recalling the moments leading up to Bloody Sunday and the moments on the Edmund Pettis Bridge following the order by Sheriff Jim Clark: “Troopers advance!”

Lawrence Huggins is a survivor, and his legacy is that he lived to tell his story. When he realized we were from Cedarville, he recalled meeting others from Cedarville Civil Rights Tours some 10 years ago. I was glad to help us renew the tradition of drawing close to history and the historians who were there. Thank you, Mr. Huggins, for your encouragement, sensitivity, and candor and for sharing your story with us.

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