the college’s administration.”
The Turnipseed family wasn’t happy about the college’s
decision to urge Marti to leave (and she always regretted
going without a fight), says Turnipseed, who recently met
with BSC President Gen. Charles C. Krulak, who reached
out to him as a representative of the family.
“Our parents were angry and disappointed,” Turnipseed
says. “They expected that the alma mater of several
generations of our family would have had more respect for
the personhood of a 19-year-old from that same family who
was on its campus 1,000 miles away from her home, even if
it disagreed with what she had done.”
Fortunately, after Marti spent a year at Millsaps, BSC
officials allowed her back to campus for her senior year.
When she returned, she remained active in the fight for civil
rights, but shifted her strategy, says Koestline.
“She became more focused on getting the college to
change from within,” her former roommate says. “She and
I initiated a phone campaign to challenge BSC’s admission
policies by getting highly qualified African-American
students to apply.”
In June of 1965—two months before the first African-
American student enrolled—Marti received her BSC degree
in English. She pursued graduate studies at Perkins and
Duke theological seminaries
and earned a master’s degree
in theology from Windsor University in Canada.
Sadly, she and her three-year-old daughter, Andrea, were
killed in a head-on car collision in September 1972 in
Suffolk, Va. Her husband, Dr. Charles Moore, remarried
and taught political science at Birmingham-Southern from
1982-87, then moved on to teach at Millsaps for the rest of
his career and died in Atlanta in 2010.
Marti left behind dozens of letters written to her parents
and her brother during her college years. The letters were
published by her family around 1980 in the book
Here Am
One of the letters is reprinted on the facing page.
She also left an immense footprint of fearlessness in the
face of pressure. Her actions captured a formative period in
the life of Birmingham-Southern, inviting reflection on her
lasting impact on the college and on her personal legacy.
Rev. Turnipseed said he’s happy to have the chance to tell
his sister’s story as part of the 50th anniversary of 1963. He
thinks it’s something more members of the BSC community
should know—and they will, thanks to an Arpil 24 march
planned in her honor.
“I was supportive of my sister then and was proud as can
be—still am,” he says.
Scan the code with your mobile device to watch a video with Spencer
Turnipseed, Marti’s brother, telling her story. Or see it online here:
(Continued, from previous page)
Photo courtesy of
The Birmingham News
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