Cars lined Main street Vineyard Haven for the Sunday morning service at the Unitarian Universalist Church, and inside the inviting space, with bright stained-glass windows and wooden paneling, chairs were taken all the way to the back of the room. Vineyarders were gathered to honor the Civil Rights Movement and in particular the memory of Rosa Parks. There would be a guest speaker: Lucy Hackney, whose father Clifford Durr was one of the attorneys who helped Mrs. Parks make bail after she was arrested for refusing to leave her seat on a Montgomery bus.

Monica Van Horn led congregation in This Little Light of Mine. — Ivy Ashe

“This is Lucy, our Lucy, who walks up and down every morning right in front of the church,” said Peter Palches by way of introduction.

Mrs. Hackney’s mother, Virginia Durr, penned an autobiography recounting in part the turmoil of the late 1950s; the Durrs were both involved in civil rights activism. Rosa Parks, a friend of Mrs. Durr and a talented seamstress, had helped with the alterations on Lucy’s wedding dress (Lucy married Sheldon Hackney, who died last September). The church heads of worship learned of this story by reading a Gazette piece written by Charlayne Hunter-Gault, and decided to invite Mrs. Hackney to speak during a service.

Several members of the congregation took turns reading aloud from Virginia Durr’s autobiography, setting the scene for the events of the Montgomery bus boycott. Esther Hopkins related how Mr. Durr had worked with Ed Nixon, a black lawyer, to get Mrs. Parks out of jail. Mr. Nixon, a newly-minted lawyer, had the money for bail, and Mr. Durr, an established attorney, had the sway. Nancy Cox spoke of “a vast deceit”—how white women, including Mrs. Durr, had aided the boycott by driving black women to and from work each day. Roger Thayer read from a chapter detailing the events of Jan. 30, 1956, when Dr. Martin Luther King’s house was bombed, and Dr. King’s ensuing plea to Montgomerians to not respond to hate with hate.

Mr. Palches introduced Mrs. Hackney by pointing out that she had achieved a great deal of her own in the wake of her parents’ accomplishments — earning a college degree and a law degree, and founding the Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children.

Mrs. Hackney remembered Mrs. Parks as a “remarkable, incredible woman.” She was smart, wonderful with children, and extraordinarily hard working.

Lucy Hackney spoke as part of Unitarian Universalist service honoring civil rights movement. — Ivy Ashe

“What happened to her in that terrible time is, as you know…she was tired,” Mrs. Hackney said. And the saddest thing, she continued, was that after the events of the arrest and the trial (Mrs. Parks had to pay a fine), Mrs. Parks couldn’t go back to her old job. She left Alabama, Mrs. Hackney said, but “she would come back. Things got better.”

“She was always willing to [live] the dream and the equality of the life she always wanted,” Mrs. Hackney said, before closing her speech with a quotation from Dr. King’s I Have a Dream speech.

Monica Van Horn stepped to the stage and led the congregation in This Little Light of Mine.

“If you have a little candle in a room, you’re going to see it, even if that room is dark,” Ms. Van Horn said.