This statue of civil rights martyr Viola Liuzzo was installed in a Northwest Detroit park bearing her name on July 25, 2019. It was sculpted by Austen Brantley. The accompanying plaque tells her story:
Viola Fauver Gregg Liuzzo
(April 11, 1925-March 25, 1965)
Viola Liuzzo – a working class wife, mother,Wayne State University student and member of the NAACP – had a long history of of helping anyone who was suffering or treated unfairly. She lived in Detroit, Michigan with her children, Penny, Mary, Anthony, Tommy and Sally; and husband, Anthony Liuzzo.
In March 1965, Mrs. Liuzzo heeded Martin Luther King Jr.’s plea for help after Bloody Sunday, the infamous day when black citizens in Alabama were brutally beaten by police as they tried to march from Selma to Montgomery to register to vote. After arranging with her closest friend Sara Evans, to help care for her children during a brief absence, Mrs. Liuzzo drove to Selma and participated in the successful “Selma to Montgomery Freedom March” and assisted with the coordination and logistics. However, she never made it home. On March 25, 2965 while driving back to Selma with a young, fellow activist, Mrs. Liuzzo was assassinated in Lowdnes County Alabama by members of the Ku Klux Klan. She was only 39 years old. Her murder helped spur passage of the Voters Rights’ Act in August 1965. Her decision and her extraordinary act of human decency and kindness defined her as a wife, mother, friend and human being. Her courage has inspired songs, documentaries, books, actions and hope for generations. Viola Fauver Gregg Liuzzo – we thank you.
The Viola Liuzzo Playground was dedicated to her by the City of Detroit on July 1, 1982 out of gratitude for her courage and bravery. In 2015, the Viola Liuzzo Park Association formed to assist in the redesign of the playground and educate the community about Mrs. Liuzzo’s courage and struggle for civil and human rights.