A bridge between the civil rights and labor movements of the late 20th century, the Reverend James Orange advocated for the rights of all during his over 30 years in the AFL-CIO. Rev. Orange began advocated for the rights of all during his over 30 years in the AFL-CIO. Rec. Orange began his life of advocacy as a field worker for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) with Dr. King in the early 1960s. during his time with the SCLC, Rev. Orange organized voter registration drives and inspired young people to become a part of the process. In 1965, during one drive, Rev. Orange was arrested in southern Alabama and jailed. Fears for his life ensued and a march to the court house by several of his followers commenced. One such follower, Jimmie Lee Jackson was killed during the march, which then sparked the famed Selma to Montgomery march, now known as “Bloody Sunday.”
A few years after Dr. Kings assassination, Rev. Orange began working with the AFL-CIO in Atlanta, organizing several hundred campaigns. During the years leading up the centennial Olympics in Atlanta, Rev. Orange worked with several labor leaders in advocating for fair wages and working conditions for those building the Olympic stadium.