The Reverend James Orange, lifelong Civil Rights and Anti-Poverty activist, has died. A biography is provided by the SCLC:
"THE REV. JAMES E. ORANGE, a native of Birmingham, Ala., who resided in southwest Atlanta for four decades while fighting the good fight for equality and social justice for all mankind, was a courageous rights activist whose 6'5" frame was first seen in 1963 with King and Abernathy during marches in Birmingham to help integrate facilities and transportation in Alabama, in particular, and the South, in general.
More significantly, it was his 1965 activism in Selma and Perry Co., Ala., that almost caused his lynching when residents protested the death of Jimmie Lee Jackson, who died, at 26, of an Alabama state trooper's gunshots while attempting to get his relatives registered to vote, which also best describes Orange's heroism that ultimately led to the infamous Selma to Montgomery march and the Voting Rights Act, legislation signed into law by President Johnson in Aug., 1965.
As a project coordinator with King and Abernathy at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) from 1965-70, Rev. Orange later became a regional coordinator with AFL-CIO in Atlanta. He retired in 2005 after 35 years of tireless service within the southeast where he incorporated beliefs of nonviolence and a progressive society toward a more cohesive unity between national labor leaders and the "beloved community".
Rev. Orange, since 1995, was the founder-general coordinator of the M.L. King, Jr. March Committee-Africa/African-American Renaissance Committee, Inc., an organization that not only coordinated the nation's most-watched and heavily-attended commemorative events honoring the life and legacy of Dr. King, but led in the efforts, with former Atlanta Mayor/former U.N. Ambassador Andy Young, to promote industry and general commerce between Atlanta and the nation with South Africa."
Reverend Orange was present when Dr. King was assassinated in 1968.
Recently, Orange worked with a number of national and international civil rights organizations including the People’s Agenda for Voter Empowerment where he worked on voter education and registration drives throughout Georgia.
Rev. Orange leaves his wife, Cleo; five children, two grandchildren, and a host of relatives and friends in Atlanta and Alabama, the SCLC said."