Clark OlsenC
lark Olsen

Clark Olsen is 82 and a Unitarian Universalist minister.  In 1965, he was gifted by his Berkeley, California, congregation to travel to Selma, Alabama, in response to Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s call to clergy to join him. It was there, on the evening March 09, 1965, that Olsen and two ministerial colleagues were attacked and beaten by racist thugs; Rev. James Reeb died of his injuries. Later, Olsen became a staunch advocate for civil rights and racial justice.  He joined other civil rights veterans and toured the South with church and school groups in an effort to assure that lessons learned from the period were not lost.


O. L. Sherill

O. L. Sherill

O. L. Sherill is 85 and has lived in Black Mountain since 1962. He had an illustrious 27-year career as a teacher and administrator with Asheville City Schools where he was a father figure and mentor to hundreds of young people. He spent most of his adult life spreading the message of education and the doors that it will open. He has served in a leadership capacity on numerous boards and committees. Sherrill’s focus and commitment to improved race relations has influenced many of Asheville’s prominent leaders for over 40 years.

Oralene SimmonsOralene Simmons

Oralene Simmons is 75 and grew-up in a home where the focus was on civil rights and social equality. In the 1960’s, she was a founder of ASCORE (Asheville Student Committee on Racial Equality), the student group at all-black Stephens-Lee High School that worked for racial integration in the city. Simmons is perhaps best known for her work as founder and chair of the Asheville Buncombe Martin Luther King, Jr. Association Prayer Breakfast where, for over 30 years, she has mentored youth and raised money for academic scholarships.