MARCH 25, 1965 - Montgomery, Alabama

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On March 25, 1965, Viola Fauver Gregg Liuzzo, a white Unitarian Universalist civil rights activist from Detroit, Michigan, was shot and killed by members of the Ku Klux Klan in Montgomery, Alabama. She was 39 years old. Liuzzo, a housewife and mother of five with a history of local activism, heeded the call of Martin Luther King Jr. and traveled to Selma, Alabama in the wake of the Bloody Sunday attempt at marching across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. A large part of Viola’s activism was due to a close friendship with a black woman, Sarah Evans, with whom she shared similar views and support for the Civil Rights Movement. In the aftermath of Liuzzo’s death, Evans would go on to become the permanent caretaker of Liuzzo’s five young children. One of the four Klansmen in the car from which the shots were fired was FBI informant Gary Rowe. Rowe testified against the shooters and was moved and given an assumed name by the FBI. Liuzzo’s name is today inscribed on the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Alabama.