Many Unitarian Universalists know the story of Reverend James Reeb, the UU minister who was murdered in 1965 in Selma, Alabama after answering Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s nationwide call for religious leaders to come south to march in support of voting rights.
What UUs may not know is that James Reeb grew up in Casper, Wyoming, and served there as a Presbyterian minister before his faith journey led him to Unitarian Universalism and to civil rights activism. He eventually moved with his family to Washington D.C., where he served as the Assistant Minister to All Souls Unitarian Church. His next call to ministry and activism took the Reeb family to the Roxbury area of Boston where he worked for fair housing and advocated for people living in poverty.
Marie Reeb, Reverend Reeb’s widow, still resides in Casper along with many of his extended family, and yet much of the Wyoming community is unaware of his legacy and this important Wyoming connection to America’s Civil Rights Movement.
Partnering with The Table, a downtown Casper dinner church, the Unitarian Universalist Community of Casper is raising $10,000 for a James Reeb Memorial Mural here in his hometown of Casper. Understanding that UUs and others involved in social activism across the country feel deep respect and reverence for Reverend Reeb, the UU Community of Casper is extending an invitation to be a part of this unique opportunity to promote James Reeb’s legacy, social justice, community partnerships, and interfaith engagement.
The James Reeb Memorial Mural project will also include a website, a short film, and several public events to heighten access and engagement with Reverend Reeb’s story. Public art is a beautiful way to introduce this amazing story to a larger audience. The mural will be ideally located across the street from David Street Station, downtown Casper’s new and popular public square, which hosts concerts, farmers markets, and countless other public events. The mural’s public unveiling will be held August 24, 2019. Reverend Reeb’s story will also be shared at an August 28th story telling event at The Table and at the UU Community of Casper’s August 25th Sunday service. In addition, Reverend Reeb will be honored at Casper’s International Day of Peace Celebration on September 21, 2019.
The UU Community of Casper’s fundraising goal for this project is $10,000 of the $30,000 estimated total cost of the mural, film, website and public events. The remaining two thirds will come from grants and public donations. Any amounts raised by the UU Community of Casper in excess of our $10,000 goal will be contributed to the James J. Reeb Memorial Scholarship Fund at Casper College, the local community college Reverend Reeb once attended.
Our interfaith partner, The Table, is a downtown Casper dinner church led by Pastor Libby Tedder Hugus. The Table has long been involved in the Casper Mural Project to beautify and revitalize downtown Casper’s public spaces through mural art. The Table follows the teachings of Jesus, and its members and friends value and seek to honor the truth found in wisdom traditions beyond Christianity. Many UU Community of Casper members and friends enjoy participating in The Table gatherings, and Pastor Libby has been a guest speaker at our UU church.
The James Reeb Memorial Mural committee consists of individuals associated with many other Casper groups and businesses. An integral member of this committee is Reverend Reeb’s granddaughter Leah Reeb, who has traveled nationwide to share her grandfather’s legacy with UUs and others. Local mural artist Tony Elmore is working closely with the Reeb family and is seeking their guidance during his creative process.
The timing of the project is fortuitous: National Public Radio recently launched the serial podcast “White Lies,” which tells the story of Reverend Reeb, his murder in Selma and the aftermath of failed justice. His story was also included in the 2015 Academy Award nominated film “Selma.”
Please consider accepting our invitation to be a part of the James Reeb Memorial Mural Project.
07/23/2019Unitarian Universalist Community of Casper$100.00
07/22/2019George and Linda Bryce$500.00