On this day in Alabama history: Civil rights activist was murdered in Hayneville

On this day in Alabama history: Civil rights activist was murdered in Hayneville
Jonathan M. Daniels graduated from Virginia Military Institute and attended Harvard University for a time before entering study for the priesthood at Episcopal Theological School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1963. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, Courtesy of Virginia Military Institute Archives)

August 20, 1965

Civil rights activist Jonathan Daniels was murdered by Tom Coleman, an unpaid special deputy, in Hayneville. A white Episcopal seminarian, Daniels took the full impact of a shotgun blast to the chest after pushing 17-year-old African-American Ruby Sales out of the way, saving her life. The activists were stranded in Hayneville without transportation after their release from jail for picketing whites-only stores in Fort Deposit a week earlier. Originally from New Hampshire, Daniels came to Alabama to participate in the Selma to Montgomery March. The Episcopal Church of the United States designated Daniels a martyr in 1991 and honors him annually on Aug. 14, the day of his arrest.

Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.

For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.

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