Lee Cole, a lifelong member of Mt. Zion United Methodist Church, remains hopeful that his grandchildren will never experience the horrors of a society divided by color.

Cole was 13 years old when his father, J.R. “Bud” Cole, and a number of other congregation members were beaten and their church was burned down by a group of Ku Klux Klan just before the 1964 murders.

On Sunday he stood in the churchyard near his Uncle Louis Cole and cousin Fred Cole, expressing amazement at how far they had come.

“I remember times when you wouldn’t see a white man in this churchyard,” Cole said.
“There were two in the pulpit this morning. We’ve got a long way to go, but it’s been a lot of progress made.”

Cole hopes that time will heal the wounds he and so many others of his generation feel. He doesn’t think he’ll live to see the day when color doesn’t matter, but hopes it will change for his ancestors.

“The older generation is dying out and the
younger generation, a lot of them are not taught that,” Cole said. “Because you know you’re not born with those thoughts and ideas in mind. A lot of kids now don’t care what color you are.

“I’m always going to be black, and in my lifetime, I would love to see it when it don’t make a difference anywhere you go,” he added. “I will never see it, but maybe my grandkids will.”