Jonathan Daniels

Jonathan Daniels

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Jonathan Daniels was born in Keene, New Hampshire, on 20th March, 1939. After graduating from the Virginia Military Institute and Harvard University, Daniels entered the Episcopal Theological School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

After the murder of Jimmie Lee Jackson in February, 1965, Daniels responded to the plea of Martin Luther King to join the voter registration drive in Selma, Alabama. He attended the Selma to Montgomery protest march and remained in the area working with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in Lowndes County.

On 20th August, 1965, Daniels was with another white man, the Reverend Richard Morrisroe, and two African American women in Hayneville, Alabama. The group were asked to leave when they entered a store to buy soft drinks. When Daniels complained about this decision, the white store-owner, Tom Coleman, shot him dead. Morrisroe was also shot by Coleman but he recovered from his wounds. Six weeks after the shooting, an all-white jury found Coleman not guilty of murder.

News & Updates

Seaport veteran and economic development leader Jonathan Daniels joined Port Everglades at the end of June as the new Chief Executive & Port Director. Daniels takes the helm just as the Broward County Commission unanimously approved moving forward with a $3 billion port expansion effort and 20-Year Master/Vision Plan for the diverse seaport.

Addressing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the on-going expansion, Daniels said: “We are fortunate that Port Everglades’ diversified business sectors of cargo, cruise and petroleum can address a dip in one business sector and be balanced out with stability in other revenue-generating business lines. As a result, while the COVID-19 pandemic is certainly impacting this year’s bottom line, we are able to move forward with several sizeable infrastructure projects at a rapid pace with little disruption from the virus.”

Daniels comes to Port Everglades from the Port of Gulfport, Mississippi where he had been the CEO & executive director since 2013. In addition to his maritime experience in Gulfport, where he led a $570 million restoration and expansion project, Daniels also served as the Executive Director of the Port of Oswego in New York from 2007-2013, managing director of the Port of Greater Baton Rouge and Port Director for the Eastport Port Authority in Maine.

Daniels also has an extensive background in economic development as the Chief Executive Officer of Eastern Maine Development Corporation, where he oversaw the day-to-day operations and development efforts of the six-county economic development district, and as the Director of the City of Bangor, Maine Office of Economic and Business Development. He also served as Senior Trade Advisor and Director, Maine International Trade Center, responsible for the State of Maine’s international trade development efforts for eastern and northern Maine.

“I am honored to have been selected for this position. I look forward to working with the Board of County Commissioners, the County Administrator, the hard-working and dedicated employees of Port Everglades and its diverse business clientele,” Daniels added.

Port Everglades updates its Master/Vision Plan every 2-5 years to consider market trends, new technology, community development and environmental initiatives. Port staff has been working with a consultant team from Bermello Ajamil & Partners, for the past 21 months and has held more than 40 outreach meetings to update the Plan with market research, business intelligence from Port customers, and insight from the environmental and residential communities.

The Master/Vision Plan is a roadmap that has steered Port Everglades to becoming the third largest cruise home port in the world, one of the nation’s largest containerized cargo ports and South Florida’s main hub for gasoline and jet fuel. Fifty projects, of which nearly half will be completed or underway in the next five to 10 years, are included in the Plan. Highlights include:

  • The Southport Turning Notch Extension, already under construction, will lengthen the current ship turn-around area from 900 feet to 2,400 feet to add new cargo berths and crane rail infrastructure. This is the largest construction project in the Port’s history at $471 million.
  • In addition to three new Super Post-Panamax container cranes, the largest low-profile gantry cranes manufactured in in the world, currently being assembled, and due to be delivered and operational by the end of this year, the Port has an option to buy three more of the same cranes.
  • The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Harbor Navigation Improvement Project to deepen and widen the channels received Congressional Authorization in December 2016. In February 2020, the first phase of the project was included in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers FY2020 Work Plan to receive $29.1 million in federal funding to widen the Intracoastal Waterway and reconfigure the U.S. Coast Guard station east of its current location.
  • Slip 1 is being widened to accommodate larger oil tankers.
  • CenterPoint Properties is completing a state-of-the-art International Logistics Center (ILC) on 17 acres of Port land to replace the outdated foreign-trade zone facility. The two-building complex is expected to be completed by September 2020.
  • A new 1,818-space parking garage to serve Cruise Terminals 2 and 4 is due to be completed in October 2020. It features more elevator banks and an air-conditioned bridge with moving walkways to deliver guests to Terminal 2.
  • Major renovations are planned to four cruise terminals and the addition of a finger pier to increase the Port’s capacity for tomorrow’s larger cruise ships.
  • In addition to the ILC, another site at the Port has been targeted for additional cold storage, which is critical as Port Everglades is the leading perishables seaport in Florida.
  • A People Mover to connect Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport to Port Everglades and the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center.
  • Numerous road improvements are planned to reduce traffic congestion.

Port Everglades is one of Broward County’s leading economic engines, generating more than $32 billion in economic activity annually while supporting 13,000 local jobs for people who work at the Port and for companies that provide direct services. As a self-supporting Enterprise Fund of Broward County, Florida government with operating revenues of almost $170.7 million in Fiscal Year 2019 (October 1, 2018 through September 30, 2019), the Port does not rely on local tax dollars for operations.

Aug. 20, 1965: Jonathan Daniels Killed

Jonathan Daniels, fellow seminarian Judith Upham, and a fellow activist. Photo from Virginia Military Institute.

Jonathan Myrick Daniels, an Episcopal seminarian, had gone to Alabama to work on the desegregation of churches and voter registration.

On August 13, 1965 Daniels and others picketed whites-only stores in southern Lowndes County. They were arrested and taken to Hayneville, where they were jailed in overcrowded cells with no air conditioning and toilets that routinely backed sewage out onto the floor.

They were released on Aug. 20, 1965, but were not provided with any means of transportation back to Selma.

Stranded in the 100 degree heat, Daniels and the others sought a cool drink at a nearby store. There, they were met by Tom Coleman, holding a shotgun, who demanded they leave the property or risk being shot.

As Coleman aimed at 17-year-old African American Ruby Sales, Daniels pushed her away and took the full impact of the shotgun blast in his chest, dying instantly. Coleman was acquitted.

Read more on and learn more about the struggle in Lowndes County in “Lowndes County and the Voting Rights Act” by Hasan Kwame Jeffries. See the online documentary, Here Am I, Send Me: The Story of Jonathan Daniels.

A young adult book about Daniels was released in 2016, called Blood Brother: Jonathan Daniels and His Sacrifice for Civil Rights by Rich Wallace and Sandra Neil Wallace.

Related Resources

Teaching SNCC: The Organization at the Heart of the Civil Rights Revolution

Teaching Activity. By Adam Sanchez. 24 pages. Rethinking Schools.
A series of role plays that explore the history and evolution of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, including freedom rides and voter registration.

Who Gets to Vote? Teaching About the Struggle for Voting Rights in the United States

Teaching Activity. By Ursula Wolfe-Rocca. 2020.
Unit with three lessons on voting rights, including the history of the struggle against voter suppression in the United States.

Lowndes County and the Voting Rights Act

Article. By Hasan Kwame Jeffries.
History and significance of the Lowndes County Freedom Organization.

The Voting Rights Act: Ten Things You Should Know

Article. By Emilye Crosby and Judy Richardson. 2015.
Key points in the history of the 1965 Voting Rights Act missing from most textbooks.

Bloody Lowndes: Civil Rights and Black Power in Alabama’s Black Belt

Book – Non-fiction. By Hasan Kwame Jeffries. 2010.
History of the role that activists in Lowndes County played in spurring Black activists nationwide to fight for civil and human rights in new and more radical ways.

March 23, 1965: Selma to Montgomery March Continues

The Selma to Montgomery marchers traveled into Lowndes County, working with local leaders to organize residents into a new political organization: the Lowndes County Freedom Organization (LCFO).

Jonathan Myrick Daniels

Jonathan Myrick Daniels Daniels was born on March 20, 1939, in Keene, New Hampshire, and was the second child of Philip Brock Daniels, a family doctor and obstetrician, and Constance Weaver, a language teacher. Although his parents were Congregationalists, Daniels joined the St. James Episcopal Church because it sponsored a Boy Scout troop during his senior year in high school. In 1961, he graduated first in his class from the Virginia Military Institute and briefly attended Harvard University to study literature. As a young man, Daniels had experienced periods of profound doubt regarding his faith, but he eventually became convinced that he should devote his life to service in the Episcopal Church. In 1963, he began studies at Episcopal Theological School (ETS) in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Jonathan Myrick Daniels On August 13, Daniels and roughly 30 other protestors picketed whites-only stores in the town of Fort Deposit in southern Lowndes County. They were arrested and taken to Hayneville, where they were jailed in overcrowded cells with no air conditioning and toilets that routinely backed sewage out onto the floor. The prisoners were released a week later on August 20 but were not provided with any means of transportation back to Selma. Stranded in the 100 degree heat, Daniels and the others sought a cool drink at a nearby store. There, they were met by Tom Coleman, holding a shotgun, who demanded they leave the property or risk being shot. As Coleman fired, Daniels pushed 17-year-old African American Ruby Sales to the ground and took the full impact of the shotgun blast in his chest, dying instantly. As Daniels's companions ran for safety, Coleman fired again, critically injuring Richard Morrisroe, a Catholic priest from Chicago, who survived. As was the case in numerous race-related crimes during the civil rights era, an all-white jury acquitted Coleman when the defense produced witnesses who claimed that Daniels had a knife and Morrisroe had a pistol. The shootings and Coleman's acquittal were condemned across the country.

Daniels's death, along with those of others during the voting rights campaign of 1964 and 1965, helped awaken the country to the continued violence against those who promoted civil rights and pervasive discrimination at southern polls. In Lowndes County, African Americans continued to press for voting rights and the right to sit on juries. Within the Episcopal Church, the seminarian's murder helped to stir a generally complacent denomination into more outspoken support for civil rights. In 1991, the Episcopal Church of the United States added Daniels as a martyr to the church's Calendar of Lesser Feasts and Fasts. The church honors Daniels on August 14, the day of his arrest. Daniels is also remembered as a martyr at Canterbury Cathedral in Canterbury, in the United Kingdom.

Daniels, Jonathan Myrick. The Jon Daniels Story, with his Letters and Papers. William J. Schneider, Ed. Seabury Press, 1967.

Forgotten Hero of the Civil Rights Movement

Mike Bell

August 18, 2015

In one horrible moment it was over: a young man, who had his whole life in front of him, was suddenly and brutally taken from this earth. Taken from his mother and sister, from his friends, and from those he struggled with during the height of the Civil Rights movement. In the moment of violence that ended his life, however, Jonathan Daniels demonstrated what love was all about. Not pulp magazine love or reality show infatuations, but real love: The love for humanity that bids a person to lay down his or her life for another. Jesus spoke of this love over and over again. Jonathan Daniels was clearly listening.

Born in 1939 in Keene, New Hampshire, Jonathan had deep roots in New England. He was a typical kid: going to music camp, attending church, falling in love, and enjoying the company of a steadfast group of friends who still remember him with laughter and fondness. He was not a perfect child by any means. He smoked, stayed out too late, and snuck a beer now and then.

But Jonathan showed a contemplative side as well. His reading list included Camus, Kierkegaard, church fathers, and in an article for his high school paper he lamented young people&rsquos disconnect with the spiritual world. His favorite book, The Chain portrays an Episcopal Priest who stands with the marginalized in his town and loses his life in the process. After high school Jonathan attended the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, where he thrived under the rigorous academic and physical discipline

Graduation found Jonathan at a cross roads. Although he wished his classmates &ldquothe joy of a purposeful life&rdquo in his valedictory address, his own life lacked such purpose. His father had died two years before, and there was pressure on him to return home to support his mother and sister. He decided, however, to pursue a graduate degree in English at Harvard University . After a year of study he realized that Harvard was not for him, just when Harvard had decided that he needed to seek his degree elsewhere.

And then he had an epiphany. He never shared what he experienced during the 1962 Easter Sunday services at the Church of the Advent on Beacon Hill, but it changed his life forever. He later called it a &ldquoreconversion&rdquo after an on again off again relationship with the church, he had come home. Within a year he was enrolled in seminary at the Episcopal Theological School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Jon&rsquos textbook margins were well marked with his thoughts and reactions, but he learned his most important lessons from fieldwork in inner city Providence, Rhode Island, where his eyes were opened to the realities of poverty and injustice.

At the same time the change happening in the world around him caught his attention. In March 1965, Dr. Martin Luther King called on American clergy for assistance after the brutal attack on activists at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma. At first Jonathan was not sure &ndash &ldquocould I spare the time? Did I want to spare the time? Did He want . . . ?&rdquo&ndash but after evening chapel he resolved to go south. He joined the march to Montgomery and then, after most of the activists had returned home and the camera crews had packed up, he stayed.

While managing to complete his seminary coursework, he plunged into what he called &ldquoliving theology&rdquo: he helped with voter registration, photographed segregated conditions, worked to integrate a church, and lived with local families. Rachel West Nelson, whose family Jonathan stayed with, remembered that &ldquohe was part of our family. . . . In a way, he was a part of every black family in Selma in those days.&rdquo

He also encountered less than friendly locals. On one occasion, he was accused of being an &ldquooutside agitator&rdquo and asked if he was a &ldquowhite nigger.&rdquo He replied that he was.

On August 14, 1965, Jonathan was part of a protest in Fort Deposit, Alabama. He, Stokely Carmichael, and some twenty others were arrested and held in the Hayneville county jail , where they sat for a week in the sweltering heat. On August 20 they were released and quickly set about trying to get to somewhere safe. While some of the activists organized rides, Jonathan and a Catholic priest named Richard Morrisroe along with two local women, Ruby Sales and Joyce Bailey, walked to a local store known to serve blacks and whites.

As Ruby opened the door, a figure from the shadows warned them off the property. Then the man raised a shot gun and pulled the trigger. Jonathan pulled Ruby from the line of fire and was hit instead. He was dead before he hit the ground. The gunman shot Father Morrisroe in the back, and then walked over to the county courthouse to call the state police chief and inform him he had just shot two preachers.

At Jonathan&rsquos funeral, many of the mourners stood around the grave and sang the anthem of the movement, &ldquo We Shall Overcome &rdquo&ndash a final tribute from those who had come to love this son of New England and his integrity, love, and commitment to freedom.

Even though Dr. King described Jonathan&rsquos last act as &ldquoone of the most heroic Christian deeds I have heard of in my entire ministry and career for civil rights,&rdquo his story is seldom told. I have often wondered why he does not have the place he deserves beside Emmet Till, Jimmie Lee Jackson, Medgar Evers, Viola Liuzzo, and so many others. For a long time it made me angry. But recently I have begun to look at it in a different way . . .

The Gospel of Luke recounts that three days after Jesus&rsquo burial some of the women who had been with him went to his tomb. They found the tomb empty, and standing nearby two men who asked them why they looked for the living among the dead.

In a similar manner I began to wonder why I had been looking for the living in the pages of books. Jonathan Daniels cannot be found there he is still with us in many ways.

He is alive in the stories his friends tell and the memories they cherish.

He is still present in the places he walked and lived.

He is still with us whenever people tell his story.

He is still part of the lives he touched and in the life that he graciously saved.

Wherever a person stands up with love and compassion and takes a stand against violence and hatred, Jonathan Daniels is still alive.

Schneider, William J. American Martyr: The Jon Daniels Story. Harrisburg, PA: Morehouse Publishing, 1992.

Historian and author Mike Bell has presented the life story of Jonathan Daniels to audiences across the country. He resides in New England, where he teaches, writes, and spends most of his time being a dad to his son, who is named for Jonathan Daniels.

Jonathan Daniels - History

History Lesson: Jonathan Daniels West Virginia Daily News, Lewisburg, April 25, 1995 by Joan C. Browning

Virginia Military Institute in Lexington celebrated Black History Month by honoring Jonathan Daniels, the valedictorian of its Class of 1961. Last year, the Episcopal Church added the anniversary of his death to its Calendar of Lesser Feasts and Fasts. Jonathan Daniels, VMI '61, will forever be remembered each August 20th by Episcopalians, an honor not quite but almost sainthood.

The military school is proud of its historic role in training warriors (including professors and cadets who fought to preserve the evil of slavery). The church celebrates the martyrdom of a priest who died practicing the peace and brotherhood he preached. By sharing memories of white Jonathan Daniels during Black History Month, VMI and the Episcopal Church acknowledged that human life is a complex, beguiling mystery.

After VMI, Daniels studied for the Episcopal priesthood. During the southern Civil Rights upheaval, he answered Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s call for "people of good will" to stand with the oppressed people of Selma, Alabama.

Ruby Sales, Richard Morrisroe, and Judith Upham came to VMI to remember Daniels. My information about the day comes from interviewing persons present and from Claudia Schwab's excellent report in the Lexington, Virginia News-Gazette.

They recalled that long-ago hot Alabama day. Sales, a student at Tuskegee Institute, Daniels, the seminarian, and Morrisroe, a Catholic priest from Chicago, along with another young black student, Joyce Bailey, had been released after six days in Hayneville Prison. They were jailed for opposing slavery's legacy, racial discrimination, in Lowndes County.

The little group was about 100 yards from the jail, on their way to the Cash Store for a Coca-Cola, when, as Ruby Sales recalls, Tom Coleman "called me a black bitch,' aimed his shotgun and Jon pulled me back. The gun was absolutely aimed at me." Daniels died instantly.

Morrisroe took Coleman's second shotgun blast trying to save Joyce Bailey. After six months in the hospital and two years of physical therapy, he learned again to walk.

Rev. Judith Upham marched in Selma with Jonathan in the spring, but returned to seminary that summer. She remembered Jon's smile and his VMI-spit & polish shoes. "Because he didn't get the chance, I'm carrying out his priesthood as well as my own," she said. She has worked in inner city black parishes and is an ordained priest, and is priest-in-charge of a small parish in rural Maryland.

Morrisroe left the ministry and has been a college lecturer, city planner, legislative assistant for the city of East Chicago, Indiana, and staff attorney for the Chicago Transit Authority. He remains active in the church and inner city programs. His son is named Jonathan.

And Tuskegee Institute student Ruby Sales? She taught African American History and African American Women's History at several colleges and universities. For the past five years, she has been involved in organizations working on social and economic issues impacting women and communities lacking resources. And she is currently a student in the masters of divinity program at Jonathan Daniels' other alma mater, Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Tom Coleman, the man who murdered Jonathan Daniels and seriously wounded Richard Morrisroe, was acquitted by an all-white jury. University of Mississippi historian Dr. Charles Eagles wrote Outside Agitator, Daniels' biography. According to Eagles, Coleman still lives in Hayneville and has never shown any sign of remorse.

Eagle says that Daniels' ability to persevere and succeed at VMI helped him survive Selma and Hayneville Prison. Jonathan Daniels, a student of war, was remember as a man of peace by his military school and his ecumenical co-religionists during Black History Week. That's a History Lesson that may take years to comprehend.

A Nation of Laws

The prosecutor sounded an alarm for the jury: “This is a nation of laws, not men,” he said. “If you decide to throw the law out, we are going to be in for far more trouble than we’ve ever seen.”

After more than an hour of deliberation, the jury, all white, declared Coleman not guilty.

Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black declined to intervene when activists appealed to the Supreme Court to stop the courts in Lowndes County from hearing more cases because the court systematically excluded women and blacks from the juries.

Across the country, reaction to the jury decision was intense. President Lyndon Johnson promised a federal investigation. Alabama’s attorney general declared the judge’s decision shameful.

Jonathan Daniels

Jonathan Myrick Daniels (1939-1965) is considered a saint in the Episcopal Church, honored for giving his life at the height of the civil rights struggle in 1965. Born in New Hampshire, Daniels joined the Episcopal Church as a teenager and later enrolled in Episcopal Theological School in Cambridge, Mass.

He followed Dr. Martin Luther King’s call to join the civil rights movement in Alabama following Bloody Sunday in Selma in the spring of 1965. After being arrested for trying to register black voters in Lowndes County in August 1965, Daniels was released. Trying to find a cool drink in the Alabama heat, Daniels and his companions were threatened with a shotgun Daniels died from a gunshot wound after pushing aside Ruby Sales, a 17-year-old African-American woman.

Since 1991, the Episcopal Church has celebrated his life and martyrdom every year on Aug. 14, the day of his arrest. The sculpture of Daniels in the Cathedral’s Human Rights Porch was designed by Chas Fagan, sculpted by stonemason Sean Callahan, and dedicated in 2015. Looking on was the young woman Daniels saved, Ruby Sales.

Oral history interview with Jonathan Daniels, 1965 June 14

Format: Originally recorded on 1 sound tape reel. Reformatted in 2010 as 2 digital wav files. Duration is 26 min.

Summary: An interview of Jonathan Daniels conducted 1965 June 14, by Richard Doud, for the Archives of American Art. Daniels speaks of his association with the Farm Security Administration.

Biographical/Historical Note

Jonathan Daniels (1902-1981) was a writer, employed by the Farm Security Administration.


Conducted as part of the Archives of American Art's New Deal and the Arts project, which includes over 400 interviews of artists, administrators, historians, and others involved with the federal government's art programs and the activities of the Farm Security Administration in the 1930s and early 1940s.

Language Note

How to Use This Collection

Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Jonathan Daniels, 1965 June 14. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Jonathan Daniels

When Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. issued his nationwide call in 1965 for clergy of all faiths to come to Selma, Ala., to support voting rights marchers, Jonathan Daniels, a 26-year-old white Episcopal seminary student from Massachusetts, heeded the call.

During the long hours of waiting, meeting and marching in Selma, Daniels was buoyant in the knowledge that he was living his faith. He made fast friends with a black family who opened their home to him, and he quickly saw the urgent need for economic and political reform in the South. When the Selma-to-Montgomery march was over, Daniels decided to stay and work in Alabama.

“He had an abundance of strength that came from the inside that he could give to people,” fellow civil rights worker Stokely Carmichael once said. “The people in Lowndes County [Alabama] realized that with the strength they got from Jon Daniels, they had to carry on, they had to carry on!”

On Saturday, Aug. 14, black teenagers in Fort Deposit gathered to picket white stores that discriminated. Daniels and two fellow ministers joined in. Police had already informed the marchers they would be arrested for their own protection. As the group approached downtown, Daniels and the Rev. Richard Morrisroe, a Catholic priest, were among the 30 marchers taken to the jail in Hayneville.

The marchers spent nearly a week in jail. On Aug. 20, 1965, they were released without explanation and with no transportation back to Fort Deposit. While one of them went to call someone for a ride home, two teenagers, Joyce Bailey and Ruby Sales, walked with Daniels and Morrisroe to a store to buy a soda. When they got to the door, they were met by a man with a shotgun who told them to leave “or I’ll blow your damned brains out!” Daniels pushed Sales out of the way as the gun went off. The shot hit Daniels in the stomach, killing him instantly. Morrisroe was hit in the back, critically injured.

Tom Coleman, 55, a part-time deputy of Lowndes County, put down his shotgun, walked to the courthouse and called the state trooper commander. “I just shot two preachers,” he said. “You better get on down here.”

A grand jury indicted Coleman for manslaughter instead of murder, after he testified Daniels pulled a knife on him. The all-white jury took less than two hours to find Coleman not guilty and shook his hand as they filed out of the courtroom.

It was an old and bitter story of Southern justice, but this time even the attorney general of Alabama could not contain his outrage. The acquittal, Richmond Flowers said, represented the “democratic process going down the drain of irrationality, bigotry and improper law enforcement … now those who feel they have a license to kill, destroy and cripple have been issued that license.”

Watch the video: Jonathan Daniels Alabama companions recall his life


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