NEW YORK (AP) – Reverend C. Herbert Oliver, a civil rights activist who documented police brutality against African Americans in Alabama in the early 1960s and then fought for public school reform in New YORK York, has passed away. He was 96 years old.
Oliver died Nov. 30 in New York City after battling several health issues, his daughter, Patrice Oliver, said during her funeral in Brooklyn on Wednesday, according to a video online from the service. Oliver’s relatives could not be reached on Saturday.
Oliver was born in Birmingham, Alabama on February 28, 1925.
From 1960 to 1965 he was executive secretary of the Inter-Citizens Committee in Birmingham and worked with other members of the clergy to combat the discriminatory police headed by Public Safety Commissioner T. Eugene “Bull” Connor, according to a profile of Oliver published in 2018 by his alma mater, Wheaton College, near Chicago.
The committee documented more than 100 cases of alleged brutality and civil rights violations by Birmingham police.
“I would keep my eyes on the newspapers, and the newspaper would publish articles about people who had been beaten and arrested by the police,” Oliver told Wheaton Magazine. âI would find the victim and ask him to tell us his story. Invariably, the stories the victims told us were different from those the newspaper broadcast. “
In 1965, cases of police brutality declined, and Oliver moved to Brooklyn, where he served as the pastor of Westminster Bethany Presbyterian Church from 1967 to 1992.
Oliver ran a new local school board in Brooklyn in the predominantly black Ocean Hill-Brownsville area from 1967 until its disbandment in 1970 amid controversy. The council’s transfer of teachers, many of whom were white and Jewish, out of the school district led to a 36-day city-wide teachers’ strike in 1968, and ultimately the council’s dissolution, the New York reported. Times.
âThere was a lack of good education, and the teachers and principals weren’t from the community or were not invested in the students,â Oliver told Wheaton Magazine. “We were trying to sort out the school-centered community unrest.”
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