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James Orange

James Orange
Born James Edward Orange
(1942-10-29)October 29, 1942
Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.
Died February 16, 2008(2008-02-16) (aged 65)
Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
Alma mater Bishop College, Dallas, TX
Occupation Pastor, activist
Organization SCLC
Movement African-American Civil Rights Movement, Peace movement
Spouse(s) Cleophas Orange
Children Pamela Aquica Orange, Jamida Orange

James Edward Orange[1] (October 29, 1942 – February 16, 2008) was a pastor[2] and a leading civil rights activist in the 1960s Civil Rights Movement in America.


  • Personal life 1
  • Civil rights era 2
  • Later work 3
  • In popular culture 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6

Personal life

Orange was born in

  1. ^ Rev James Orange Founder and Chairman, MLK March website biography. Accessed 2008-02-17.
  2. ^ a b c d e Civil Rights Leader Who Marched With King Dies, 2008-02-17, Reuters newswire story.
  3. ^ a b c d e f The Rev. James Orange, 65, 'gentle giant' civil rights activist, 2008-02-17, Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
  4. ^ a b c d e The Rev. James Orange, Civil Rights Activist, Dies at 65, February 17, 2008, Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
  5. ^ a b c An interview with Rev. James Orange, by Fred Gaboury, 2000, People's Weekly World (newspaper). Accessed 2008-02-17.
  6. ^ a b c d Activist, Rev. James Orange, 1943-2008 2008-02-17, Atlanta Progressive News. Accessed 2008-02-17.
  7. ^ Civil Rights Figure James Orange Dies, 2008-02-17, Associated Press report in the New York Times.
  8. ^ a b c d e f James Orange, civil rights activist, dies at 65, February 17, 2008, CNN News.
  9. ^ Bush Plan to Honor Dr. King Stirs Criticism, January 15, 2004, New York Times. Accessed 2008-02-18.


See also

Orange is played in the 2014 film Selma by Omar Dorsey.

In popular culture

According to a fellow activist speaking shortly after his death, "He stayed active right up until the end... The Martin Luther King celebration this year fell on the 21st [of January, 2008]. He was still conducting it from his hospital bed. If you wanted something... he was still calling the shots."[6]

In 2004, Orange protested the interruption of Atlanta's King commemorations due to an uninvited appearance by Republican Party fundraiser. After black leaders threatened to lock themselves into the site in question, an historic black church, the Secret Service permitted their symposium to go on, but with limited public access.[9]

Since 1995, Orange had served as the founder and general coordinator for the Martin Luther King, Jr. March Committee-Africa/African American Renaissance Committee, Inc., which coordinated commemorative events honoring King and promoted commercial ties between Atlanta and other United States locations and South Africa.[8]

In 2006, Orange worked on Cynthia McKinney's attempt to regain her congressional seat, and appeared at the April 1, 2006 rally against the Iraq War in Atlanta.[6]

In 1977, Orange worked on the organizing campaign of the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union and won union representation and benefits for the workers at J.P. Stevens textile and clothing factories. After that success, Orange was assigned to the AFL-CIO Industrial Union Department until 1996, when he joined their Atlanta field office.[5]

[4] Orange was a project coordinator at the

Later work

The 1965 uproar over Jackson's shooting during Orange's incarceration soon led to the famed Selma to Montgomery marches, including the infamous police brutality on "Bloody Sunday", and the passage of the Voting Rights Act later that year.[2]

During that march on February 18, 1965, an Alabama state trooper fatally shot a young man, Jimmie Lee Jackson, in the stomach.[8] In 2007, a former trooper named James B. Fowler, 74, was indicted for the death of Jackson. Living witnesses and tapes of the day of the killing were expected to be used at his trial.[8]

As part of his civil rights work for the SCLC in Alabama, he was arrested and jailed prior to conviction in 1965 for contributing to the delinquency of minors by enlisting them to work in voter registration drives.[8] His detention in Perry County, Alabama, sparked fears that he would be lynched, and a protest march was organized to support him.

In 1962, when Orange was only a year out of high school, he attended one of the weekly Monday night mass meetings at the 16th Street Baptist Church and was transfixed by a speech on equality by Reverend Ralph Abernathy. In a meeting in the church basement later that night, he volunteered to risk arrest picketing a local store the next day. He was arrested, the first of at least 104 arrests for picketing or acts of civil disobedience.[5]

Speaking 1993, [4]

Civil rights era

Orange's wife of 39 years, Cleophas,[3] known as Cleo,[7] survived him, as did three daughters and a son.[6][8] His youngest daughter, Pamela Aquica Orange, died on March 11, 2007. His daughter Jamida Orange spoke to the press on behalf of the family at the time of his death.[3]

At the time of his death in February, 2008, at Atlanta's Crawford Long Hospital,[2] Orange was recovering from gallbladder surgery.[3][4] Orange had had a triple heart bypass operation about six years before his death, and his health had declined over the years, despite his robust physique.[6]

Orange had a large family, several of whom were active in the civil rights movement. He was the third of his parents' seven children. His father worked in the large ACIPCO foundry in Birmingham, but was fired in 1957 for union activity. Orange's mother was very active in the civil rights movement and also attended the Monday night mass meetings at the Sixteenth Street church. Still, he told an interviewer on January 15, 2000, "I was afraid to go home and tell my mamma that her daughters, one 17 and the other 14, were in jail. But that's the way it was in those days, as we waged — and won — a non-violent campaign against police clubs and police dogs."[5]

[4] He was also known for preaching and singing in a strong baritone voice.[2] principles, he endured nine beatings without resistance.nonviolent was physically impressive but deeply committed to non-violence. In his attempts to convert gang members in Chicago to adopt [4] and over 300 pounds,[3][2] Orange, at over 6'3" tall[3]

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