November 30, 2022

Ruby Sales Talks About All Kinds of Things We Need to Hear

White Church, We Need to Hear All of This

That’s right, we need to hear all of this! We need to be inspired to build, at long last, an egalitarian, equitable society – free from the scourge of racism that has rotted the soul of America. We have a LOT of work to do, and now is the time to do it. In creating an equitable society for all ethnicities and all cultures, and all genders and all faiths, we will redeem our own souls, and actualize what Jesus died on the Cross for us to realize. For truly, unless we begin, as a society, to treat all people as we want to be treated, and thereby eliminate all outgroups, we will not be a moral society at all. And as scripture informs us, until we gather around a circle in love and equity down here, we will be neither eligible nor prepared to gather around a throne up there.

Ruby Sales Biography (from Wikipedia)

Ruby Sales was born in Jemison, Alabama, on July 8, 1948. After graduating from high school, Sales attended Tuskegee Institute where she became part of a community of civil rights activists.

In the summer of 1965, she left Tuskegee to work full-time as a voter registration organizer with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). SNCC assigned her to Calhoun County, Alabama. Students in Fort Deposit, a small town in Lowndes County had asked SNCC for its support in a demonstration aimed at protesting the local store-owner’s treatment of their sharecropper parents, and the organization sent members from various counties to join their cause. Sales acknowledged that she and the others were scared, violence and intimidation in “Bloody Lowndes” had been well-documented. Sales was one of the thirty people who took part in the demonstration on August 14, 1965.

Many members of the group were arrested and taken to the county seat of Hayneville. After being jailed for six days, the group was suddenly released. No advance notice was given so there was no one available to pick the demonstrators up. She and a few others went to a nearby store to get something to drink. There she and group were threatened by a shotgun-wielding state highway department employee, Tom Coleman, who was also a volunteer county deputy. One of Sales’ fellow marchers, Jonathan Daniels, a white Episcopal seminarian, pushed her out of the way and took the shot meant for her, dying instantly. Daniels was a 1961 graduate of the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) and valedictorian of his class, and was studying at the Episcopal Theological School in Cambridge, Massachusetts (Schneider 1992; Eagles 2000; Ruane 2015).

Sales was so traumatized by Daniels’ murder that she nearly lost the ability to speak for the next seven months. Despite death threats made to her and her family, Sales resolved to testify at Tom Coleman’s trial. He was acquitted by a jury of 12 white men and said in a CBS television interview a year after the killings that he had no regrets, declaring: “I would shoot them both tomorrow”.

Continued Human Rights Work

Sales went on to attend the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, successor institution to the seminary Daniels had attended. She has worked as a human rights advocate in Washington, D.C., and across the south, and founded The Spirit House Project, a non-profit organization and inner-city mission dedicated to Daniels.

The Story of Jonathan Daniels