By Anne Marie Amacher
DAVENPORT – A group of around 60 students, faculty, staff and community members walked silently on a cold January day from St. Ambrose University to the location of the former Toney’s Barber and Beauty Shop to commemorate the Davenport civil rights movement. The group huddled closely to listen to brief talks at the site, near 10th and Ripley streets on Jan. 22.
Father Chuck Adam reflected on how local people were involved in the area’s civil rights movement. Charles Toney was the first African-American student to graduate from then-St. Ambrose College in 1930 and was a founding member of the local civil rights movement. Others who were active in civil rights included Father Frank Duncan, who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma in 1965; St. Ambrose professor, Father William Dawson; Msgr. Marvin Mottet; and Wayne and Nora DeJohn, who led the first anti-war demonstrations in front of the Federal Building in downtown Davenport.
Fr. Adam prayed for those gathered “to have the courage and commitment to face today’s issues.” Sister Joan Lescinski, CSJ, St. Ambrose University president, reflected on Dr. King’s own words: “He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”
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