WASHINGTON — In addition to the families of the four girls killed in the 1963 Birmingham church bombing, there were hundreds of other special guests at yesterday’s Congressional Gold Medal ceremony.
Montgomery civil rights activist Doris Crenshaw was sitting waiting for the event to begin when a living legend of the movement, U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, sat down next to her.
Crenshaw, the founder and CEO of the Southern Youth Leadership Development Institute, was not lamenting that it took 50 years for the girls to get such national recognition.
”When it happens, it’s always on time,” Crenshaw said. “ Things never happen in our time. It’s in God’s time. This at this time for a reason. This shines the spotlight on violence and what it does to people and I think we can use this as a teachable moment.”
Crenshaw arrived with Dorothy Wright-Tillman of Montgomery, the former member of the Chicago City Council who also marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Other Montgomery figures in the room were Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, and Rep. Martha Roby, R-Montgomery.