1965 Voter Registration Reenactment March

Bill Monnie

On August 13, 2016 I returned to Virginia and participated in the Re-Enactment of the 1965 Voter Registration March in Lunenburg County. At the beginning of the march we gathered at the Victoria, VA Baptist Church in preparation for our departure as we had done 51 years earlier. It was my desire to be “low key” and be a participant reminder of the past. However, I was unexpectedly summoned by an organizer of the march to speak to those gathered in the church. I was handed a megaphone and responded by saying, “Most of you don’t know that I was once a Preacher so I don’t need a megaphone to speak to you.” Internally, I was also thinking that I did not need a request for a spontaneous speech to a church full of marchers. But there are some habits that never leave a person, and the cadence of preaching took only seconds to return to me along with a voice that was able to project to the back of the church sans electronic assistance. And I immediately launched into a tribute to Nathaniel Lee Hawthorne whom I called my “Hawsie.” I don’t think I spoke more than 5 minutes because I have always believed that concise brevity is required in public speaking. What was so important and meaningful to me was that Hawthorne’s family, relatives, and friends were able to hear the spoken words from the person who wrote so lovingly of him in our books The Lake Effect and Selma. On that day the occasion presented me once again the opportunity to proclaim the “gospel” just as I had done i