America's great war over slavery has not ended; it has evolved. Fifty years ago, Bob Zellner risked his life and nearly lost it many times, achieving The Second Emancipation. Today, at 76, he remains a soldier in what may become a Third Emancipation—a turbulent and promising chapter that may come to be known as #BlackLivesMatter.
Famous for battles with the KKK, segregationist lynch mobs, and violent police, Zellner is now the individual that a new generation turns to with questions on the racial, historical, and cultural assumptions on which they were raised, as they ask themselves, "What is my place in this struggle?"
In 2014, he was featured in TIME Magazine as one of 17 "living legends" of the Civil Rights Movement to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. The first white Southerner to serve as Field Secretary for The Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, he worked with historical figures including John Lewis, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks, to supply The Civil Rights Movement with its most significant assets, including the revolutionary power of multi-racial solidarity and committed grassroots organizing.
For nearly 60 years, Zellner has leaped into the chasms that divide God's human family and built bridges to reunite them. With lectures rich with death-defying, inspiring, and often humorous accounts of when his life intersected with history, he brings to life the heartbreaks and victories of the Civil Rights Era in a way that empowers and instructs the modern day movement. His continued active role in the movement—most notably as one of 16 arrested with Rev. Dr. William Barber in the civil disobedience that kicked off the Moral Monday movement in 2013—presents a message informed by direct experience with modern day inflection points and tools for organizing in the fight for justice.