Emmett Till

Mississippi Trial 1955
Chris Crowe

Civil Rights Post 1955
Jim Crow

Viola Liuzzo
By Emily

Viola Liuzzo was the first white person to be killed during the Civil Rights Movement. A group called the Ku Klux Klan, also known as KKK, was responsible for the death.

When Viola was 16 she had dropped out of school, ran away, and had gotten married. While participating in the Selma to Montgomery, Alabama march for black voting rights, Viola and a 19 year-old boy, Leroy Moton, helped drive a local civil rights marcher home. On their way to the home of the civil rights worker, another car came up beside them while they were stopped at a red light. Segregation did not allow for the sharing of public facilities and racial mixing often led to violent attacks. She was shot and killed by the KKK of the last night of 1965 the Selma Voting Rights March.

The four KKK members were quickly arrested within 24 hours. The three KKK members, Collie Wilkins, William Eaton, and Eugene Thomas, went to trial but a mistrial was declared when the jury could not come to a unanimous decision.  However, Gary Rowe was protected by the FBI because he was an FBI informant, so he did not go to trial. In 1965 the three men went to trial in federal court and all three men were found guilty and sentenced to ten years in prison. In 1980 the Liuzzo children sued the FBI for two million dollars and blames Rowe and the FBI for the murder.     

In 2008 Viola Liuzzo story was recreated in a song called “Color Blind Angel” by the late blues singer named Robin Rogers.

Viola Liuzzo                                                              

Viola Liuzzo before her murder

 Citations, "Viola Liuzzo." Wikipedia. Web. 11/22/11. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viola_Liuzzo.

"Viola Liuzzo." Dictionary of Unitarian & Universalist Biography. Web. 11/28/11. http://www25.uua.org/uuhs/duub/articles/violaliuzzo.html.


This page was last updated on: Thu, Jan 19, 2012