Rev. James Reeb Memorial Mural Project
We are so excited that the Reverend James Reeb Hometown Memorial Mural in downtown Casper is finished! Artist Tony Elmore has created a beautiful and meaningful work of art! An inscription reads “This mural was created to inspire empathy as the greatest human power, sparked by the legacy of our hometown everyday hero, Rev. James Reeb, (1927—1965).”
Featured on the Rev. James Reeb Memorial Mural in downtown Casper are (left to right)
–Rev. James Reeb, the revered Unitarian Universalist minister who was killed in March 1965 by white segregationists after answering Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s call for religious leaders across the country to join him in Selma, Alabama to march for voting rights. Scenes from Rev. Reeb’s life of compassionate service flow out like a wave behind him.
–Unitarian Universalist ministers Rev. Orloff Miller and Rev. Clark Olsen, who were with him the night of the attack,
–Annie Lee Cooper, civil rights activist who was jailed in January 1965 after an altercation with Sheriff Jim Clark outside the courthouse while attempting to register to vote
–Jimmie Lee Jackson, an African American man who died February 26, 1965 after being shot by an Alabama State trooper on February 18, 1965, during a voting rights demonstration, and
–Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr., one of the most revered leaders of the Civil Rights Movement.
To learn more:
¨ Read the James Joseph Reeb Biography at uudb.org/articles/jamesjosephreeb.html
¨ There are a number of books in the UU Casper library about Rev. Reeb and the Civil Rights Movement, as well as many books and articles available online through the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA.org).
¨ Listen to the 2019 seven-part NPR series “White Lies,” which tells the story of Rev. Reeb’s life, his murder in Selma in 1965, and its aftermath of failed justice.
UU Casper’s August 25th Sunday service focused on Rev. Reeb’s life and legacy of compassion in action, as well as celebrated the Mural and the individuals whose vision and hard work made it real.
The Mural’s public unveiling was Wednesday, August 28th, followed by a reception and wonderful story telling event hosted by The Table entitled “Civil Rights Then & Now” at the Lyric in downtown Casper, with panelists Leah Reeb, NPR “White Lies” co-hosts and journalists Chip Brantely and Andrew Beck Grace, and Wyoming author Ammon Medina.
Reverend Reeb will also be honored at Casper’s International Day of Peace Celebration on September 21, 2019.
UU Casper conducted a fundraiser for the Mural though the UU crowdfunding site, faithify.org, raising $10,000 for the Mural and $422 for the James Reeb Memorial Scholarship Fund at Casper College! Thank you to everyone who donated to this project! UU Casper is so thankful for the opportunity to partner with The Table, the Reeb family, the James Reeb Mural Committee, and others in the community on this project!
We’ll share updates on all of the elements of the project (the Mural, events, website and short film) here and on our UU Casper Facebook page.
Again, THANK YOU!
Reverend Reeb 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. The story of his murder and its aftermath of failed justice can be heard on the new NPR podcast “White Lies.”
What is not so widely known is that James Reeb grew up in Casper, Wyoming, attended Natrona County High School and Casper College, and served as a Presbyterian minister in Casper before his faith journey led him to Unitarian Universalism and to civil rights activism. Eventually Reverend Reeb’s 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.
As public art accessible to all, the James Reeb Memorial Mural beautifully introduces his story of service and social justice activism to a larger audience. The project also includes a website, short film, and several public events to heighten access and engagement with Reverend Reeb’s legacy.