About 200 young seminarians -- Protest, Roman Catholic and Jewish -- are staging what they call the "Theological Students' Vigil For Civil Rights" in Washington, D.
Three men watch traffic
Traffic moving past camera
Three men watching
Lincoln Memorial - car pulls up, man gets out and shakes hands with man on curb
Three men ascend steps of Memorial
Three men walk up to Statue of Lincoln
Three men look at statue
Head of Lincoln statue
Three men standing on sidewalk
Young man shakes hands with each of vigil keepers and joins them
Sign"Theology Students Civil Rights Vigil"
Three vigil keepers - students and statue
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Background: About 200 young seminarians -- Protest, Roman Catholic and Jewish -- are staging what they call the "Theological Students' Vigil For Civil Rights" in Washington, D.C., at the Lincoln Memorial keeping a 24-hour, seven-days a week vigil while the civil rights debate in the U.S. Senate goes into its eight week (as of Monday 27 April).
The students serve in shifts of two to four hours each. Each shift has in it one Protestant, one Catholic and one Jew -- plus a fourth member to answer any questions visitors may ask, and to hand out pamphlets stating their views.
The U.S. Park Service allows anyone into the Lincoln Memorial any time, but does not allow any kind of demonstration inside, no matter how peaceful. So the seminarians make their visits to the statue of Lincoln itself fairly briefs, and then remain outside on the sidewalk until a new group arrives to relieve them.
The students come in to Washington from seminaries throughout the country, serve a day or two or longer, then return to their class-rooms to be replaced by others.
The loneliest and the quietest time in the Lincoln Memorial is late at night. The traffic and the tourists have long since gone home, for the most part, the lights inside are turned low, and except for the guards and Lincoln, the seminarians are the only ones there.
The seminarians purpose, they say -- "We hope to get our message across and to have an impact without sensationalism."