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Civil rights leader James Bevel dies

The Rev. James L Bevel, a prominent figure in the civil rights movement whose legacy was clouded by an incest conviction has died, a relative said.

world Updated: Dec 21, 2008 09:15 IST

The Rev. James L Bevel, a prominent figure in the civil rights movement whose legacy was clouded by an incest conviction has died, a relative said. He was 72.

Bevel died on Friday in Virginia after a fight with pancreatic cancer, said a daughter, Chevara Orrin, who lives in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He was recently released on bond while appealing a 15-year prison sentence.

Bevel was a top lieutenant to Martin Luther King Jr and architect of the 1963 Children's Crusade in Birmingham, Alabama. But in April, a jury convicted Bevel of incest for having sex more than a decade ago with a then-teenage daughter.

Bevel served several months of his 15-year sentence before he was released in November on bond while appealing. Prosecutors opposed Bevel's release.

A Baptist minister, Bevel was a leader in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, two of the stalwart organisations that led efforts in the 1960s to desegregate the South.