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Reverend James Bevel

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Information about Reverend James Bevel

Profile image of Reverend James Bevel

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
ReligionMakers
Occupation(s):
Civil Rights Activist
Minister

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Black
Favorite Food:
Avocado
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
He's on the case.

Birthplace

Born:
10/19/1936
Birth Location:
Itta Bena, Mississippi

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
ReligionMakers
Occupation(s):
Civil Rights Activist
Minister

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Black
Favorite Food:
Avocado
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
He's on the case.

Birthplace

Born:
10/19/1936
Birth Location:
Itta Bena
See how Reverend James Bevel is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Civil rights activist Reverend James Luther Bevel was born in Itta Bena, Mississippi, on October 19, 1936. After a stint in the services, Bevel was called to the ministry and enrolled in the American Baptist Theological Seminary in Nashville, Tennessee. While in the Seminary, Bevel joined the Nashville chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), then led by the Reverend James Lawson.


In 1960, Bevel and other black students trained by Lawson, including John Lewis, Dianne Nash, Marion Barry, and Bernard Lafayette, organized sit-ins against segregated lunch counters. Eventually Bevel and his colleagues won a hard-fought, nonviolent victory; soon after, as chairman of the Nashville student movement, Bevel participated in Freedom Rides to desegregate interstate travel and public accommodations throughout the South. In his home state, Bevel created the SCLC Mississippi Project for voting rights in 1962. In 1963, Bevel was compelled to join the desegregation struggle being waged by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth in Birmingham, Alabama. When King was jailed, Bevel organized black children and marched against Commissioner Bull Connor's fire hoses and police dogs. The "Children's Crusade," as the movement led by Bevel came to be known, turned the media tide in the favor of the desegregationists. Bevel helped in the brainstorming for the March on Washington in 1963, and the Selma to Montgomery marches in 1965. Bevel also worked behind the scenes on the Chicago open housing movement in 1966; the anti-Vietnam War movement in 1967; the Memphis sanitation workers strike; and the Poor People's Campaign in 1968.

In 1969, Bevel left SCLC and created the Making of a Man Clinic in 1970. In the 1980s and 1990s, Bevel founded Students for Education and Economic Development (SEED). In 1992, Bevel ran for vice president on a ticket with Lyndon LaRouche.

Bevel served as pastor of the Hebraic-Christian-Islamic Assembly in Chicago; a board member of Chicago's Fulfilling Our Responsibilities Unto Mankind (F.O.R.U.M.); and chairman of the Camden, New Jersey, County Economic Development Board. Bevel also served as pastor and adviser to Chicago's Council of Mothers; the West Side Baptist Minister's Conference; WorkShip Coalition; and the Nation of Islam.

Bevel passed away on December 19, 2008 at age 72.

See how Reverend James Bevel is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of James Bevel interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - James Bevel's favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - James Bevel discusses his family's ethnic origins
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - James Bevel shares his family's philosophy on ancestry and ethnicity
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - James Bevel talks about his parents' backgrounds
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - James Bevel explains his father's influence and enlightenment
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - James Bevel discusses black land ownership
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - James Bevel remembers his childhood community of Itta Bena, Mississippi
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - James Bevel remembers the social climate of his childhood community
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - James Bevel describes his father's notoriety in Itta Bena, Mississippi
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - James Bevel talks about childhood activities and his siblings
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - James Bevel discusses his education
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - James Bevel discusses his father's involvement with Mississippi Valley State University
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - James Bevel explains his move to Cleveland, Ohio
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - James Bevel talks about attending school in Cleveland, Ohio
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - James Bevel recalls entering the U.S. Navy and experiences there
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - James Bevel talks about his reasons for leaving the U.S. Navy
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - James Bevel talks about voluntarily leaving the U.S. Navy
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - James Bevel remembers his music career
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - James Bevel discusses being called into the ministry
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - James Bevel recalls lessons learned at the American Baptist Theological Seminary, Nashville, Tennessee
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - James Bevel explains his evangelical belief system
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - James Bevel reflects on the open theater movement
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - James Bevel discusses the organization and planning of the Civil Rights Movement in Nashville, Tennessee
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - James Bevel talks about his strategies for activism
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - James Bevel discusses strategies for sit-ins in Nashville, Tennessee
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - James Bevel recalls the outcome of civil rights activism in Nashville, Tennessee
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - James Bevel comments on the reactions of university faculty to civil rights activism in Nashville, Tennessee
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - James Bevel talks about the major players and disciplines of the Nashville Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - James Bevel reflects on the personality and influence of Ella Baker
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - James Bevel talks about SNCC's early actions
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - James Bevel explains his and SNCC's positive reaction to President John F. Kennedy
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - James Bevel explains strategies for voter registration in Nashville and the outcome of the effort
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - James Bevel remembers his involvement with the Freedom Rides
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - James Bevel explains how serving jail time helped the cause of the Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - James Bevel discusses plans for ending segregation in Jackson, Mississippi
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - James Bevel discusses his involvement in civil rights activism in Mississippi
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - James Bevel explains the reasoning for launching COFO in Mississippi
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - James Bevel talks about the goals of COFO
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - James Bevel remembers incidents surrounding the Medgar Evers murder
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - James Bevel details the Birmingham, Alabama Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - James Bevel talks about bringing the Civil Rights Movement into the national political arena
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - James Bevel explains his focus as a nonviolent activist