Vashti Cromwell McCollum, Jim's mother, filed suit in 1945 after her son suffered abuse, including beatings, from his fifth grade classmates. So why did the students bully him?  Because he was the only student in his class not taking the school's voluntary Protestant religion class -- the same type of class being taken by more than 2 million students nationwide at the time.

School officials refused to take action to prevent the abuse. Finally, when Jim came home crying because he had been forced to sit in a desk in the hallway alone while the religion class took place in his classroom, she decided to take action. "I made up my mind," she remembered with anger 60 years later. "Never again would he be put in the hall." She sued the school board.  After she lost in lower court decisions, she won a resounding 8-1 decision in the U.S. Supreme Court, establishing the foundation for the separation of church and state in public schools.

The event takes place Sunday, November 7, at 2:00 PM at First Unitarian Universalist Church of Little Rock, 1818 Reservoir Road. Copies of Dannel's book will be available.

This event is free and open to the public and all are invited and encouraged to attend!

For more information contact: James McCollum at