Today's musical selection tells the story of Bill Moore, a white civil rights protester from Baltimore who was murdered in rural Alabama in April 1963 while on a one man Freedom Walk. He was killed on the way from Chattanooga, Tennessee to Jackson, Mississippi where he planned to hand deliver to governor Ross Barnett a letter imploring him to accept racial equality and integration.
On his walk, Moore promoted his agenda by wearing sandwich board type signs reading "Equal Rights For All - Mississippi Or Bust" and "End Segregation In America - Eat At Joe's Both Black & White."
That alone would have been provocative enough to warrant concern for his safety. But Moore, a committed atheist, also pushed a cart displaying a "wanted" poster adorned with a sketch of Jesus that was captioned "Jesus Christ - Wanted for sedition, criminal anarchy, vagrancy, and conspiring to overthrow the established government."
Moore had been warned of the danger of undertaking the march by himself while carrying such signs through small towns across the deep South, but he was undeterred. On the third day of his journey, his dead body was found along the side of the road about an hour northeast of Birmingham. He'd been shot twice in the head. An arrest was made, but the grand jury neglected to issue an indictment so no one was ever convicted.
The Ballad Of The Walking Postman was written and produced by Buck Ram, a noted songwriter, arranger and producer who was also the manager of the Platters, for whom he'd written such huge hits as Only You (And You Alone), The Great Pretender, and Magic Touch.
In April 2008, a quartet of activists paid tribute to Moore by completing his march. They walked the 300 miles from Reece City, Alabama all the way to Jackson to deliver a copy of Moore's letter to the Mississippi governor. Well, that was the plan, anyway. When the marchers arrived, the governor, citing a scheduling conflict, was not on hand to accept the letter.