30″ x 50″
In 1963, Marna Williams, mother of four, heard about the deaths of four little girls in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama and knew she had to do something. She joined women from her Presbyterian Church, the Catholic Church, and the Greater Birmingham Ministry to form The Mustard Seed, a project that offered 28 programs to help the segregated black neighborhood nearby, providing tutoring, food, sports, social experiences, and lessons in life skills. The Mustard Seed community was united in love. However, their actions created conflict with Marna’s family, who believed their actions threatened life as they knew it. Marna stood for what was right and helped those less fortunate. The Mustard Seed transformed not only the Southtown community but Marna herself.
By the age of 46, she was a widowed mother of five. To support her children, Marna earned her doctorate in Psychology and established a counseling practice. She married Dan Jones, my father-in-law at 73. Their home was “a sanctuary where love abides.” Sanctuary describes Marna well, a place of refuge and safety. She was undoubtedly that for her five children and the residents of Southtown. She continues to be “the spirit” of the community where she lives. She not only makes it a better world; she transforms it.