Viola Liuzzo, Detroit civil right activist killed in Alabama memorialized with a ​statue

In this March 20, 2019 photo, Austen Brantley, 23, a self-taught clay sculptor, works in his studio in Royal Oak, Mich. Brantley was commissioned to make a statue of Detroit Civil Rights activist Viola Liuzzo for a park, he was captivated by her story. “I could never make a piece as beautiful as Viola,” says Brantley. (Kimberly P. Mitchell/Detroit Free Press via AP)

A statue of a civil rights activist who was slain in Alabama during a 1965 voting rights march has been dedicated at the Detroit park that bears her name.

The statue unveiled Tuesday shows Viola Liuzzo walking barefoot — with shoes in one hand — and a Ku Klux Klan hood on the ground behind her. Sculptor Austen Brantley, who memorialized the white activist from Detroit, says Liuzzo’s life “tells us … to take action in our community and our nation.”

Liuzzo, a 39-year-old mother of five, drove from Detroit to Alabama to join 25,000 others in support of a march led by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. She was driving fellow activists between Montgomery and Selma when she was fatally shot by Ku Klux Klan members in another car.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.