No correct answers today, though a couple of people had in mind another violent incident that occurred in 1965. The answer to today’s UU trivia question is Rev. Brooks Walker, minister of Emerson Unitarian Church in Canoga Park, CA. Rev. Walker was an outspoken critic of the Radical Right, which made him the target of death threats, harassment, and eventually violence. While speaking at a panel about radical right-wing threats to democracy in America held in a West Los Angeles synagogue, his home was bombed, as was that of one of his co-panelists. Rev. Walker and his family were unharmed, and rather than being cowed, he used the incident to call further attention to domestic terrorism and reactionary groups.
1965 was a year of many troubles. Rev. Albert D’Orlando’s home was also bombed, as was his church, the First Unitarian-Universalist Church of New Orleans. Rev. D’Orlando was a prominent advocate of desegregation. The same year Rev. James Reeb was murdered in Selma and his two companions, Rev. Clark Olsen and Rev. Orloff Miller (all UUs), were beaten during their work for civil rights. And also in 1965 UU laywoman Viola Liuzzo was murdered by the Ku Klux Klan at the end of the march from Selma to Montgomery.
Many people recall these violent Southern incidents of 1965, especially the murder of Reeb, which directly impacted the passage of voting rights legislation. But the Los Angeles-area attack on Walker is less remembered today, perhaps in part because it took place outside the South and thus doesn’t fit certain 60s narratives as neatly.