Sunday, February 15, 2015

A00323 - Viola Liuzzo, Slain Civil Rights Activist

*Viola Liuzzo, a Unitarian Universalist civil rights activist, was killed.

Viola Fauver Gregg Liuzzo (April 11, 1925 – March 25, 1965) was a Unitarian Universalist civil rights activist from Michigan. In March 1965, Liuzzo, then a housewife and mother of five with a history of local activism, heeded the call of Martin Luther King, Jr. and traveled from Detroit, Michigan to Selma, Alabama, in the wake of the Bloody Sunday attempt at marching across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Liuzzo participated in the successful Selma to Montgomery marches and helped with coordination and logistics. Driving back from a trip shuttling fellow activists to the Montgomery airport, she was shot by members of the Ku Klux Klan. She was 39 years old.
One of the four Klansmen in the car from which the shots were fired was Federal Bureau of Investigation  (FBI) informant Gary Rowe. Rowe testified against the shooters and was moved and given an assumed name by the FBI. The FBI later leaked what were purported to be salacious details about Liuzzo which were never proved or substantiated in any way.
Liuzzo's name is today inscribed on the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Alabama. 

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