Another one gone from a great generation

Published 5:20 pm Thursday, March 25, 2021

When Jonathan Grennell Jr. died Wednesday at age 81, Ward 1 Alderwoman Valencia Hall, who was his neighbor, said, “Another one of the older ones has gone.”

What she meant was another one of the people who was there to experience the injustice during the Civil Rights movement has gone.

He was another one of more than 400 men and women who were wrongfully arrested during a Civil Rights demonstration in October 1965, whose name appears on the Proud to Take a Stand Monument.

He was another one of those who stood up for the next generation to have a better education, to sit on the front row of a non-segregated movie theater, eat at a restaurant with white servers, to exercise their right to vote and to hold positions of leadership in government or corporations. 

Grennell risked his life driving Freedom Riders to Natchez to help Black people register to vote.

Friends of Grennell’s recalled how he also helped many people out of tight spots without expecting anything in return, whether he was fixing something or giving them a tank of gas.

His son, Darryl Grennell, said these small favors meant enough to people that they came back years later to thank him for his kindness long after he had forgotten about helping them.

Many people alive today lived through the Civil Rights movement. A few are old enough have experienced it. However, all of us are experiencing the result of what those brave men and women did.

As we give our condolences to the Grennell family, we also express our gratitude for the sacrifices he made for future generations. We will never forget.