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An evening of “forgiveness”

By Sherley Spears




The San Angelo NAACP Unit 6219 held a special celebration in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday celebration.  A packed room at the RiverView Restaurant welcomed presentations from members of the ASU NAACP Collegiate Chapter who presented background on Dr. King’s legacy with a focus on speeches that talked about forgiveness.  Following these presentations, Sarah Collins Rudolph delivered a soul-stirring presentation about her survival of the 16th Street Baptist Church, September 15, 1963.

Several members of the Abilene NAACP Revitalization Committee and youth from McMurry University attended the event.  Organizer of the Abilene NAACP Revitalization Committee, Dr. Morris Baker offered remarks.

San Angelo NAACP President, Sherley Spears, was extremely pleased with the turnout for the event.  “This year marked only the second celebration for Dr. King and I’m so pleased that we were able to connect the forgiveness storyline of Dr. King’s legacy, with our special guest, the fifth little girl, Sarah Collins Rudolph.” 

(L-R) Sherley Spears, NAACP President, Dudra Butlet, NAACP Vice President, Larry Walker, NAACP Community Coordinator, Murry Johnson, Dunbar Librarian, Sarah Collins Rudolph, Keynote Speaker and George Rudolph, her husband.

Mrs. Collins Rudolph at age 12, was the lone survivor of the terrorist attack by the hands of the Ku Klux Klan, when they bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, AL.  The bomb killed Collins Rudolph’s sister Addie, and three other young girls.  Collins Rudolph suffered injuries and lost an eye in the horrific event. 

Some days following the bombing, Dr. King eulogized three of the girls.  Collins Rudolph spent months healing from the incident.  Despite her unbelievable life events, Sarah worked to have a normal life.  Eventually she gave her life to Christ who helped to heal her grief and lead her to the place where she was able to forgive those who had harmed her and taken the life of her sister

Today, Mrs. Collins Rudolph travels the country telling her story of forgiveness and accurately telling the story of that fateful day when she lost her innocence and her sister.  She still lives near the Birmingham area now with her husband George.

The San Angelo Unit President expressed gratitude to Mrs. Collins Rudolph for an incredible 2 days.  While in the city, several members joined the Rudolph’s for dinner and the President and Vice President, Dudra Butler treated her to a morning tour of the historic Dunbar Library and other features of the African American community, and National Historic Landmark Fort Concho.

The local unit is busy now preparing for their annual Freedom Fund Banquet on February 1, 2020.  This year’s theme is:  Fighting for Civil Rights in 2020, and the guest speaker is The Honorable Nicole Collier, Texas State Representative District 95, and Chairman of the Texas Legislature Jurisprudence Committee.  She is the first African American woman to serve in this position.

For more information you may contact their office at 325-703-5200.

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