An early leader in the civil rights movement has died. Frederick D. Reese, a member of the “Courageous Eight” and the man who invited Martin Luther King Jr. to work in Selma, passed away yesterday at the age of 88. Family members have confirmed the news.
Known as F.D., Reese led a group of activists known as Selma's "Courageous Eight" who pushed for African-American voting rights despite a court injunction aimed at stopping marches and mass meetings in Alabama. As president of the Dallas County Voter's League from 1964 to 1965, Reese sent a letter inviting King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to come to Selma in the 1960s to help the voting rights movement.
Reese was also a graduate of Alabama State University. President of ASU Dr. Quinton Ross issued a statement yesterday mourning the loss, calling Reese a “giant of a man” who dared to take a stand against institutionalized racism and segregation in Selma.