On this day in 1965, thousands of people began the 54 mile march from Selma to Montgomery Alabama to call for voting rights for African-Americans lead by to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The Selma March was driven by many fierce, smart, courageous women that helped make this civil-rights protest an effective tool in gaining a national voter rights act. One of these women was Prathia Hall who’s
Hall grew up in Philadelphia and was the daughter of a Baptist preacher. She had a strong sense of social justice from an early age and joined the civil rights movement as a teenager. Hall eventually became a Freedom Rider with the Student Nonviolent Coordination Committee (SNCC). Her work there led to her becoming the first woman field leader at the SNCC.
In the early 1960s, Hall took part in some of the civil right’s movement’s toughest battles. She was a brilliant organizer and an inspiring orator. She endured arrests, death threats and being shot at while helping to register voters.
Prathia Hall was a gifted speaker, it is said that her common refrain of “I Have a Dream” while speaking from the pulpit is what inspired Dr. King’s most famous speech.
She was ordained in 1977 and in 1982, she became the first woman to be accepted in the Baptist Ministers Conference of Philadelphia and was one of the first women ordained in the American Baptist Association.
Hall’s words helped inspire one of our nation’s most beloved civil rights leaders and drove our nation forward. Today we honor Prathia Hall and the thousands of courageous people that marched from Selma to Montgomery to secure national voting rights for all citizens.