James G. Macdonell

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Rev. Dr. James Macdonell, "one of the six original founding members of the Fair Housing Council (now the Equal Rights Center), has sung the dream of social justice through his resolute commitment to the civil rights movement, his eagerness to generously offer his time and life energy to countless humanitarian projects, and his astounding knack for inspiring others to join him in lighting the path to human rights for all residents.

"Dr. Macdonell was a key player on the Save Our Scotland (“SOS”) Committee -- a grassroots endeavor that vastly improved the quality of life for the100 families of the 200 year old, historic Black community of Scotland, Maryland, which was threatened by real estate developers and the expansion of the Cabin John Regional Park. Leading his congregation and others in an effort to participate in Scotland’s renewal, in the mid-1960’s, at a time when segregation still remained a prevalent force in the county, the SOS committee petitioned the county government to bring water and sewer service to the Scotland AME Zion Church, after which SOS successfully constructed 100 new homes for the Scotland residents.

"In 1963, he participated in the historic March on Washington and also traveled to Canton, Mississippi, where under the auspices of the National Council of Churches he ran a voter registration drive for Canton’s Black residents. In 1965, Dr. Macdonell was one of the first persons to respond to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s request to the American members of the clergy to come march in Selma, AL after out-of-control police beat young and elderly black marchers on the Edmund Pettus Bridge over the Alabama River. From 1965-1968, he served on the Board of the Suburban Maryland Fair Housing Council.

"In 2004, Rev. Macdonell was inducted into the Montgomery County Office of Human Rights Hall of Fame in honor of his lifetime achievements and commitment to civil rights and equal justice." [1]

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  1. James G. Macdonell, Equal Rights Center, accessed September 24, 2008.
  2. Directors, Equal Rights Center, accessed September 24, 2008.