LaRouche Organization Profile of James Bevel
The Reverend James L. Bevel
The Reverend James L. Bevel, 55, who has agreed to run as Lyndon LaRouche's vice presidential candidate, is a prominent name in the history
of the American civil rights movement, in the history of the movement against the Vietnam War, and other milestones of 20th-century American political life.
Born Oct. 19, 1936, in Itta Bena, Miss., he is an ordained Baptist minister, having attended the American Baptist Theological Seminary in Nashville, Tenn. from 1957 to 1961. He has pastored churches in Tennessee, Illinois, Ohio, and New York.
In his theological studies, and later as a minister, the Rev. Bevel came to the understanding of Christianity as what he characterizes as the "science of human consciousness,'' underlying and mandating each and every individual citizen to take responsibility for the human community overall. It was on the basis of that outlook that he came to non-violence, and came to assume responsibility for the pivotal role in the civil rights Movement of the 1960s.
At the same time, he says he came to see expressed in the Declaration of Independence the fullest sociological manifestation of scientific human consciousness, the goal toward which all people must strive.
It was those two concepts, he says, that formed - and form - the twin bases of his thinking, social action, and educational and economic development theories and processes.
As a young pastor of a congregation, the Rev. Bevel was introduced to Leo Tolstoy's "The Kingdom of God is Within You'' and Mahatma Gandhi's "My Experiment with Truth,'' and as a result, his ministry turned in a radically different direction as he became involved with a non-violent study group in Nashville in 1959. In 1960, he became a leader of the sit-in movement in Nashville; from that day forward, he says, he was involved in consistently applying the theology of the Sermon on the Mount to social problems and personal needs alike.
It was under his chairmanship of the Nashville Student Movement that the Freedom Rides were continued--the Freedom Rides which led to the ending of segregation in interstate transportation.
As a member of the Student Nonviolent National Steering Committee, the Rev. Bevel assumed the responsibility for the Mississippi Project, one of three projects being set up in 1961-62 by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the other two being the Albany Project and the Selma Project. It was his work in, and his success in, these non-violent projects that led Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to ask him to function as the Mississippi field organizer for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and, later, as the director of the SCLC's Direct Action.
It was while serving in this capacity that the Rev. Bevel developed the Children's Marches in Birmingham and initiated the world-famous March on Washington in 1963.
After the 1963 bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, he proposed, developed, and executed the Alabama Right to Vote Movement, which culminated in the Selma campaign and the March on Montgomery in 1965. Those movements led, in turn, to the passage of the 1965 federal Civil Rights Voting Act.
Wanting to test the theory of non-violence in a Northern context, he developed the Tenant Unions and the Open Housing Movement in Chicago in 1965 and 1966, which led to a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court to outlaw racial segregation in housing. He had previously challenged the non-violent movement to oppose the use of violence in foreign policy. As a result, in 1966, he became the director of the Mobilization to End the War in Vietnam. Under his directorship, the Mobilization to End the War in Vietnam produced the largest demonstration in the history of the United States to that date, at the United Nations building in New York, on April 15, 1967.
Bevel was the director of Non-Violent Education in the Poor People's Campaign, and was present with Martin Luther King at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn. on April 4, 1968, when King was shot.
Leaving the SCLC
His insistence on a fair trial for accused Martin Luther King assassin James Earl Ray led to his departure from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
About the same time, Bevel was also attempting to get the SCLC to fight against the buildup of militarism around the world, and to fight for the scientific education of American children. Not finding support in the SCLC leadership for his ideas for a fair trial for Ray, or for a worldwide citizens' movement to fight the military buildup and to fight for scientific education for all American children, he was voted out of the organization; thereupon, he attended Vanderbilt University Divinity School to further his theological studies.
Discovering that psychology and psychoanalysis were not sufficient to address the problems of mental disorder created by segregation and oppression, Bevel developed the Man Non-Violent Clinic in Baltimore, Md., to study and rectify the psychological damage done to both European-Americans and African-Americans by the practice of slavery and racial segregation. It was out of this study that Bevel developed the Human and Community Development Institute in Nashville, Tenn., and the Organic Farm Project in Hiram, Ohio.
In 1984, Bevel ran for Congress in the 7th Congressional District in Illinois, introducing the Precinct Council as a means for character, institutional, and economic development. Running as a Republican, he received 33% of the vote in a predominantly Democratic district where Republicans normally receive 8-10% of the vote.
After the murder of a young basketball star in Chicago, Bevel developed the SEED (Students for Education and Economic Development) Process, to give inner-city children a tool that is more powerful than gang membership.
He has recently been elected as the Director of the Bettis Academy in Trenton, S.C., where he is developing a comprehensive educational and economic development curriculum that will leave students economically independent and institutionally sovereign.
Civil rights activist faces sex charge
By Matthew Barakat
June 15, 2007
LEESBURG, Va. -- Women from across the country have stepped forward with charges of sexual misconduct against a prominent civil rights leader who has been charged with having sexual relations with a teenage relative in the 1990s, a prosecutor said yesterday.
The Rev. James L. Bevel, 70, who once worked closely with Martin Luther King and later joined political maverick Lyndon LaRouche as his vice-presidential candidate in 1992, was charged last week with incest -- a felony in Virginia punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
Since his arrest, Loudoun County prosecutors "are getting calls from people all over the country saying the defendant engaged in inappropriate sexual conduct," prosecutor Gigi Lawless said at a bail hearing yesterday.
The calls to prosecutors since Mr. Bevel's arrest involve women unrelated to him, she said.
Miss Lawless told the judge that the relative later confronted Mr. Bevel in a taped conversation. He acknowledged the sex but chastised her "for believing it was something other than religious training," Miss Lawless said.
Miss Lawless argued unsuccessfully that Mr. Bevel should be denied bail while he awaits trial, saying he poses a danger to the community.
But Circuit Judge James H. Chamblin set a $30,000 bond with the conditions that Mr. Bevel avoid contact with children and that he temporarily move from his Alabama home to the District, where family friends have agreed to serve as his custodian.
Mr. Bevel did not speak during yesterday's hearing, and his wife, Erica Henry, declined comment.
Defense attorney Buta Biberaj said Mr. Bevel will plead not guilty, but declined to discuss the charges in any detail.
"Right now, these are only accusations, allegations," Mr. Biberaj said.
Mr. Bevel has not been arrested in nearly 40 years, Mr. Biberaj said. His criminal record consists of contempt of court citations and other charges associated with his desegregation efforts and protests during the civil rights movement, Mr. Biberaj said.
Mr. Bevel, who worked with King and witnessed his assassination in Memphis, Tenn., in 1968, has played a key role in some of the country's major civil rights protests.
He organized the 1963 Children's Crusade in Birmingham, Ala., and was a leader of the Freedom Rides to desegregate public accommodations throughout the South in the early 1960s.
In addition, he was an architect of the March on Washington in 1963 and the Selma-to-Montgomery march in Alabama in 1965.
News articles from Nation of Islam publications also credit Mr. Bevel as a chief organizer of the Million Man March in 1995.
At the time, Mr. Bevel was Mr. LaRouche's running mate, Mr. LaRouche was serving a federal prison sentence for conspiracy and mail fraud.
It is not clear whether Mr. Bevel is still associated with Mr. LaRouche's organization, which is based in Loudoun County. A call to Mr. LaRouche's Schiller Institute was not returned yesterday.
Prosecutor Details Incest Trial's Origins
By Amy Orndorff
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, June 15, 2007; B04
Incest allegations against a leader of the U.S. civil rights movement of the 1960s arose after some of his grown daughters began comparing notes and realized that they had had similar experiences when they were younger, a Loudoun County prosecutor said yesterday.
The daughters confronted their father, James L. Bevel, who told them that he had performed sex acts as a way to guide and train them and that they were wrong to think it was inappropriate, Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Gigi Lawless said. Since his arrest, the prosecutor's office has gotten calls from people across the country alleging that Bevel engaged in inappropriate sexual conduct, she said.
The prosecutor's comments came as she tried to convince Circuit Court Judge James H. Chamblin that Bevel, indicted last month on an incest charge, was a threat to public safety and should remain in jail. Defense attorney Buta Biberaj argued that her client had turned himself in to police and was not a flight risk. Bevel has no criminal record except for charges stemming from civil rights protests in the 1960s, and "that gives weight that he is not a danger to the community," Biberaj said.
Chamblin released Bevel on $30,000 bond but said the close friend of the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. cannot have interaction with anyone younger than 18 or leave Virginia or the District. Bevel, a 70-year-old minister, has been charged with one count of unlawfully committing fornication. Prosecutors said the incident occurred between Oct. 14, 1992, and Oct. 14, 1994, when his accuser was 13 to 17 years old.
The allegations arose when his daughters, who live around the country and did not grow up together, began comparing their childhood experiences and found similarities.
"He kind of spins it like: 'Yes, I did have sex with you, but it was religious training,' " the prosecutor said.
When they decided to press charges, Bevel's daughters began looking at different jurisdictions where they say offenses occurred. They approached authorities in Loudoun because Virginia does not have a statute of limitations on felonies, Lawless said. The accuser filed a formal complaint to the Leesburg police in September 2005.
The prosecutor also told the judge that the daughters were concerned for the welfare of Bevel's youngest daughter, who is a minor. The daughter is staying with grandparents, Lawless said.
Bevel, who lives in Eutaw, Ala., according to court documents, was visiting his local sheriff's office late last month to discuss community programs when he was approached about the warrant in Loudoun. When confronted, Bevel was arrested without incident and waived extradition. He arrived in Virginia on June 3.
Bevel sat quietly and attentively in a orange-and-white-striped jumpsuit and leg irons during the hearing. If convicted, he could receive up to 20 years in prison, Lawless said.
Most notably, Bevel organized the 1963 Children's Crusade in Birmingham, Ala., and led marches for desegregation in Washington and across the South.
In 1968, he witnessed the assassination of his friend, King. Bevel was the vice presidential running mate of Lyndon LaRouche Jr. in 1992 and helped organize the Million Man March in Washington in 1995.
Bevel Grant Bond Pending Incest Trial
By Catherine McKinney
Loudoun Circuit Court Judge James H. Chamblin posted a $30,000 bond for the release of James L. Bevel, a civil rights leader who worked closely with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the 60s and who now faces up to 20 years in the Loudoun jail after an alleged incestuous relationship that took place more than a decade ago.
At a bond hearing this morning, Chamblin said Bevel was a candidate for bond so long as he remained under supervision, did not travel outside of Washington, DC, or Virginia, and enrolled in the court's pretrial program, which requires an appearance at the Loudoun County Courthouse in Leesburg once a week. Additionally, he would be prohibited from contact with anyone under 18.
A Loudoun grand jury indicted Bevel last month on one count of committing unlawful fornication. Bevel was arrested in Alabama and returned to Loudoun to be held at the Loudoun County Adult Detention Center until his bond hearing today.
With a careful stride, the disheveled 70-year-old civil rights leader took his seat beside his attorney, Buta Biberaj. Bevel was wearing an orange and white striped jump suit, with the words "Loudoun County Prisoner" in bold black letters running down one of his pant legs. He also wore handcuffs and shackles, whose subtle clinks echoed inside the courtroom whenever he moved.
According to the indictment, the crime occurred in Loudoun between Oct. 14, 1992 and Oct. 14, 1994, when the victim-Bevel's daughter-was between 13 and 17 years old.
Leesburg Police spokesman Jeff Dube previously said the complaint against Bevel surfaced in September 2005, but would not release any more details about the investigation.
During the bond hearing this morning, Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Gigi Lawless said Bevel, who lives in Alabama, has adult children by four different women. The children were raised apart from each other, but as they grew up they attempted to get to know one another, Lawless said. It was then discovered that Bevel had had sexual relations with at least one of his daughters for a number of years, she said.
Bevel told his daughter at the time that he was contributing to her "religious training" and that if she thought anything more of what happened between them, she was a "dirty whore," Lawless said the victim told her. At that time, Bevel's daughter was 15.
Years later, the victim and some of her siblings approached Bevel, who-according to Lawless-did not deny the actions for which his children accused him.
Instead, "he does admit to engaging in inappropriate sexual behavior with his daughter," Lawless said today.
While the majority of the crimes took place out of Virginia, Bevel's daughter decided to contact the Leesburg Police Department and pursue charges in Virginia because felony crimes are not subject to a statute of limitations, Lawless said, adding that at least one of the sex crimes took place in Leesburg in 1994.
Lawless also said that she and Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Nicole Wittmann believe that Bevel's daughters are not his only victims, saying that they have been receiving calls from people that span the country alleging that they, too, had had sexual relations with Bevel as children.
"Based on the allegations, this defendant is a danger to the community and should be held without bond," Lawless said.
Regardless of what is being said, Biberaj pointed out that the allegations are "suspicions and accusations" and have not yet been proven in court. She added that Bevel will plead not guilty to the charge against him.
"We don't have any specific knowledge," about the truth of any of these allegations, Biberaj said today. "They are just accusations at this point."
There are no statements or evidence saying that anything has happened post-1994, Biberaj said as she argued for Bevel to be released on bond.
She introduced a former pupil of Bevel's, who lives in Washington, DC, and who agreed to take custody of his mentor until the end of the case if Bevel made bail. Biberaj said the former pupil also would provide for all Bevel's transportation needs to ensure that Bevel arrived for court appointments and did not attempt to flee the area. Abraham also would be responsible for making sure that Bevel did not have any contact with anyone under 18, Biberaj said.
"All things considered, I think he is a candidate for bond," given the restrictions placed upon him if he should make bail, Chamblin said. Until that point, Bevel will remain a prisoner at the Loudoun County Adult Detention Center.
Bevel is credited with playing a key role in some of the country's major civil rights protests, including the 1963 Children's Crusade in Birmingham, AL. He also was a leader of the Freedom Riders to desegregate public accommodations throughout the southern states in the 1960s and was an architect of the March on Washington in 1963 and the Selma-to-Montgomery march in Alabama in 1965. Bevel also helped organize the Million Man March in Washington in 1995.
In 1992, Bevel was a candidate for Vice President of the United States on the ticket with Lyndon LaRouche, a Loudoun-based political activist and economist who was convicted for mail and tax fraud as well as illegal fundraising practices. LaRouche and Bevel received less than 1 percent of the popular vote.