Interview with Rev. Orloff Miller


Rev. Orloff Miller:

Why did I need to be there for that final day of that march from Selma to Montgomery? Well, Jim couldn't be there so I had to be there. And I had started on that march, I had started on that bridge that first day back on Tuesday, first day for me. And we'd had a Unitarian representative on the whole march and I wanted to be there for that finale. I wanted to be in Montgomery and I wanted to go to the state capitol. I wanted to confront George Wallace. So I was there with lots of other Unitarian Universalists and people of many denominations. I had people come up to me there at the rallying place for the march whom I hadn't seen in years from my Methodist background. And they brought me greetings from various people and one of the Unitarian ministers brought me greetings and sympathy from President Johnson. He had been one of the ministers who had sat in with President Johnson during the week in Washington D.C., and various reporters of course. But anyhow, uh, but the people who had been on the whole march, they were the wonderful people. Those black kids and the, the demonstrators from families in Selma that had put their whole lives on the line to be a part of that march, they were the ones that I gravitated toward. And then to be a part of the group going into the city and as people stood on their doorstep, their front porches as we went through the black ghetto and they cheered us on and waved flags for us and some of them even decided we got to be a part of this too and they joined the march. That was very heartwarming. It made it all worth it, you know, because we made it possible for them to feel that they could do it too. That they could stand up for their own rights and they did and many of them, I have no idea what kind of repercussions they may have got from their neighbors, or their bosses, uh, who might have seen them on television later. But they marched too. We got down to the state house and of course, there were all kinds of speeches and singing and Peter, Paul and Mary. We're told that uh, George Wallace saw us, that he hid behind the curtains in the state house and watched us. And that awful Confederate flag flying over the capitol, the American flag wasn't flown, the Confederate flag was there— Confederate flag and the flag of Alabama. But I was glad I had come and uh, one of the poignant sights for me was seeing Martin Luther King's little old Baptist church where he had begun his ministry there in Montgomery. And where the Montgomery Improvement Association had staged their bus boycott and where Rosa Parks had started the whole thing off.