Interview with Rev. Orloff Miller
QUESTION 4
INTERVIEWER:

OK, THEN, UH, WHEN THE CALL CAME, HOW, WHEN THE UNITARIAN CHURCH OFFICIAL ASKED YOU TO GO, WHY DID YOU FEEL COMPELLED , TO GO TO SELMA AT THAT TIME?

Rev. Orloff Miller:

Well, when the telegram came from Martin Luther King, asking ministers of all faiths to come to Selma, I had just been back two months from a denominational team that had been sent to Mississippi and we had visited the COFO Projects there, the Congress of Federated Organizations and uh, much to my delight and as I had suspected was true, I found Unitarian Universalist students in very much involved in that Mississippi Freedom uh, effort that was going on and had been going on for uh some months. And so, because I'd been involved in that denominational team, I was inoculated, if you might uh say, uh and ready for that telegram when it arrived. I of course had heard King in Washington, I had followed uh, his speeches, uh, the Birming House Jail, letter from a Birming House, uh, Birmingham Jail uh, and so, in fact, I kept a copy of that telegram that uh, that he sent to our denominational headquarters and Homer Jack, who was in charge of our office of Social Responsibility immediately contacted me and said, Orloff, will you contact some of the other men that you know who would be willing to go to Selma who have some sense of what this is all about, and I immediately got on the phone and I called ministers who were connected with our college programs all across the United States and Canada. And uh, so between us and others of denominational headquarters we, we felt compelled, uh, we wanted very much to let as many people know as possible that this telegram had arrived. The night before I had been visiting with a couple of uh mixed race marriage, my wife and I had been their dinner guests and we had happened to watch the evening news and we saw the television account of the beatings at the bridge. We saw Sheriff Clark's posse ride among the demonstrators and beat on kids and, and their mothers, and fathers, the gassing that had taken place at the bridge. So when I arrived the next morning at headquarters, I wasn't surprised to hear about the telegram, I was ready.