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Local Civil Rights Leaders Look Back 50 Years - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Local Civil Rights Leaders Look Back 50 Years

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SHREVEPORT, La -

Shreveport commemorates the civil rights movement here this week. The look back began today with a memorial service at Little Union Baptist Church where hundreds gathered for a service to remember and reflect.

Dr. Harry Blake was here at Little Union Church 50 years ago, at a service mourning the loss of the young girls that were killed in a Birmingham, Alabama church bombing. Back then Dr. Blake was the President of Shreveport's NAACP and was nearly beaten to death by those who swore to serve and protect. "Before the service was over here, Commissioner D'Artois came into the church with some policeman and drug me out, beat me, and when I appeared to be dead or lifeless, they let me lay on the street." Years later, those same people would ask Blake for his prayers. "It meant a lot to me that way I could demonstrate forgiveness and that's what being a Christian is all about."

1963 saw the height of racial tensions in Shreveport. Pastor C. E. Mclain is now the pastor of Little Union. He was away in college when he heard about what happened at his father's church. He remembers being asked, "What in the world is going on down in Shreveport, that the police would bring horses into the church and beat people who've come to sing and pray?"

Dr. C. O. Simpkins worked with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 50 years ago and Simpkins' home in Shreveport was bombed for his part in the civil rights movement. He reflected on Wednesday's service, "I'm glad to see them come together, but I want to see them go to work and do something and finish the job. There's still a lot of work to be done."


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