Pastor goes on annual walk to commemorate day of his arrest, beating of fellow pastor during civil rights era

Pastor Calvin Austin III
Pastor Calvin Austin III(KSLA)
Published: Sep. 23, 2021 at 2:28 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 23, 2021 at 2:34 PM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - Pastor of Mt. Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church, Calvin Austin III, went on a walk Thursday afternoon (Sept. 23) that he goes on every year.

It’s to commemorate his arrest on this day back in 1963. On that day, he and 17 other Booker T. Washington High School students walked down the street from the school to remember the beating of Rev. Harry Blake and the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala.

Rev. Blake died in 2020. He was the pastor emeritus of Mt. Canaan Baptist Church and was beaten in 1963 for his role in the civil rights movement at Little Union Baptist Church. White supremacist terrorists bombed the church on Sept. 15, 1963. Four people were killed and more than a dozen were injured in the blast.

Pastor Austin says he does this annual walk to raise awareness for both incidents. Each year, he walks from the school to the spot where he was arrested. He says when he was taken into custody, the other 17 students were released, but he spend 45 days in jail. Then, he was expelled from school and had to leave Shreveport to pursue his education elsewhere.

Thirty-five years later, he came back to Shreveport and started the annual walk to commemorate that day.

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