Metro Detroiters to Honor Viola Liuzzo, Detroit Activist Murdered During March to Selma

Viola Liuzzo marching in Alabama, 1965.

A group of metro Detroiters is working to restore a neglected park named for a Detroit woman killed during the 1965 March on Selma. Viola Liuzzo was 39-years old when she was murdered by members of the Ku Klux Klan in Alabama. Julie Hamilton is the spokesperson for the Viola Liuzzo Park Restoration Association. She says the activist’s name was smeared by the media after her death.

[Her family was] really harassed by community members, by the FBI. J Edgar Hoover himself wrote scathing articles that were planted in different women’s magazines, and her family was tremendously traumatized.”

-Julie Hamilton

Hamilton says her group has developed plans to restore Liuzzo’s namesake park, and add a walking path, pickle ball courts and a picnic gazebo. She says the project’s kick-off on Saturday will celebrate the activist’s legacy. 

Schedule of the weekend’s events: 

4/10/15 Friday:

  • 1:30 pm - Wayne State University will award Liuzzo’s family an honorary doctor of laws degree

4/11/15 Saturday:

  • 1:00 pm - Professor Michael Placco will speak about Liuzzo at Macomb Community College
  • 4:00-6:00 pm - Celebration of Friends of Viola Liuzzo Park

4/12/15 Sunday:

  • 11:00 am - Members of the Liuzzo family will speak during the sermon at the First Unitarian Church

Image credit: Courtesy of the Walter P. Reuther Library

About the Author

Marissa Gawel

Associate News Producer

Fan of road trips and roasted vegetables. Currently reports from WDET’s newsroom.

mgawel@wdet.org   Follow @marissagawel

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