ATLANTA (AP)—Foot soldiers in the civil rights movement who marched alongside Hosea Williams had called him Little David.
And long after his time in Martin Luther King Jr.’s army for equality, Williams continued his attack on modern day Goliaths like racism, greed and indifference, friends of the late activist said at a memorial service Monday.
Hosea wasn’t afraid. In fact, I don’t think
there’s anything he was scared of, said the Rev. Joseph
Lowery, who in 1957 co-founded the Southern Christian Leadership
In 1965, Williams had been at the helm of the
march across the Edmund Pettus bridge in Selma, Ala. Police with
clubs, tear gas and dogs attacked peaceful protesters seeking voting
Williams died Thursday from kidney cancer complications. He was 74.
During Monday’s eight-hour viewing, thousands of mourners streamed through the International Chapel at Morehouse College to pay homage at a casket where Williams’ body lay dressed in trademark denim overalls, red shirt and red sneakers.
A funeral service was planned for Tuesday in Atlanta. Afterward, a mule-drawn pallbearing carriage was to lead a procession through downtown, along the same route marched after King was slain in 1968.
The assassination didn’t defeat the sense of brotherhood or duty in Williams.
In 1970, he began serving holiday dinners to the poor. The growing
tradition was expected to draw 30,000 this year to Turner Field at
Thanksgiving and, again, at Christmas. Despite Williams’ death,
the dinners are slated to carry on, operated by daughter Elisabeth
Williams-Omilami and funded by rapper Sean
He was faithful, said Robert Winfrey, 72.
He was a man who
didn’t like to see people hungry. He believed in what he was
doing and he was dedicated to it.
At the viewing, tributes to his courage included a gold medal
inscribed with King’s
I have a dream motto, an American
flag for military service rendered in Germany during World War II and
hymns from the darkest days of the civil rights era, sung at the
He was one of the last true activists, said Renee Dawson, who
brought her 6-year-old daughter, Riana.
I wanted Riana to see him,
and understand that because of him there’s a lot of people