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I am always sad when heroes turn out to be clay puppets.

Behold Reverend James L. Bevel.

From the Enclycopaedia of World’s Biography:

Bevel was certainly one of the most influential, though least known, civil rights activists. Martin Luther King, Jr., would not have achieved many of his successes had it not been for men and women like James and Diane Bevel. As one of King’s most effective front-men and as a dedicated worker who believed in direct-action, Bevel was a dynamic symbol of the new generation of leaders which included Andrew Young, Jesse Jackson, C.T. Vivian, Hosea Williams, and many others of both local and national prominence. Although not as well-known as some of these, Bevel’s civil rights record did not go unnoticed. In 1963 he received the Peace Award from the War Resisters League and in 1965 was awarded the prestigious Rosa Parks Award by the SCLC.

(There is also a wikipedia article on him, of course)

But what became of this righteous fighter for the rights of the disenfranchised? (more…)