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James Coyle
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Martyr
    (March 23, 1873-August 11, 1921)
    Born in Drum, Ireland
    Catholic priest and martyr
    While pastor at St Paul's church in Birmingham, Alabama he was murdered by Methodist minister and Ku Klux Klan member Edwin R Stephenson for performing the wedding ceremony between Stephenson's daughter and a black Puerto Rican immigrant
    He was ordained at the unusually young age of 23.
    Despite years in the area, he seemed not to have understood how controversial the marriage would be and made no precautions for personal safety.
    His pictures make him sissy looking.
    His murder has almost been forgotten.
    The local prosecutor wasn't able to obtain an indictment for weeks after the murder.
    The judge in the case, the jury foreman, four of the five defense lawyers (including future Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black) were Ku Klux Klansmen and the Klan paid for the defense.
    Stephenson was acquitted on grounds of temporary insanity and never served a day in jail.
    The murder and the acquittal sent shock waves around the world and gave Birmingham a black eye that would only be surpassed by the murder of 'four little girls' in 1964.
    The case showed the power and the murderous nature of the Klan.
    He was a member of, chaplain of, and a supporter of the Knights of Columbus.
    He was very well liked as a priest and pastor.
    He stood up for what he believed in.
    His initials were JC.
    There is a very good website dedicated to his honor.

Credit: tom_jeffords


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