Interview with Clark Olsen, Selma Voting Rights activist
The Rev. Clark Olsen was one of the community of ministers from across the nation who answered Dr. King, James Bevel, and Diane Nash’s call to come to Selma, Montgomery in 1965 to work for voting rights. On Tuesday, March 9, the ministers gathered for a march but it was called off due to a federal injunction. That evening, Rev. Olsen and two other white Unitarian Universalist ministers were attacked on the street and beaten with clubs by four KKK members. The worst injured was James Reeb from Boston. Fearing that Selma's public hospital would refuse to treat Rev. Reeb, activists took him to Birmingham's University Hospital, two hours away. Reeb died on Thursday, March 11 at University Hospital, with his wife by his side. Rev. Olsen is now the only surviving member of the group that met that night – the attackers and the other ministers having passed away. He visited the National Museum of American History and shared his thoughts on the movement and the idea that we all build and rebuild this nation together.