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Rev. Darrell Darling

The Santa Cruz County Democratic Party and progressive activists throughout the region join our greater community in mourning the loss of Darrell Darling.

Darrell was a seminary student at Yale in May, 1965, when he saw a flier with the words of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. pleading for help to pass the federal Voting Rights Act, which President Johnson signed into law later that year.


On the act’s 50th anniversary in 2015, Darrell told the Santa Cruz Sentinel, “It just struck me, I can’t turn away. I knew this was something that really wasn’t negotiable.”


He traveled to Selma, Alabama, and joined others on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, the scene of what is now known as “Bloody Sunday,” the beatings of civil rights activists during the first march for voting rights.


The televised attacks were seen across the nation, generating widespread public support for the activists in Selma and for the voting rights campaign.


Darrell returned to the bridge, now a National Historic Landmark, for an anniversary march three years ago. Talking to Sen. Cory Booker, Darrell mentioned that he had been at the original march in 1965.


Sen. Booker grabbed Darrel’s arm and marched with him, side by side. The photograph appeared on the front page of The NY Times.

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Darrell and his wife Karen moved to Santa Cruz from Davis in 1978, taking a position with the local United Methodist Church. He retired from ministry in 1984 to run an inn with Karen.


The Darling House on West Cliff Drive became the iconic center of progressive politics in Santa Cruz County for more than three decades.

Darrell served many years on the Democratic Central Committee and will be greatly missed. Our condolences to the Darling Family. Further information will be updated as it becomes available.

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