David Orange

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David Wayne Orange (born November 2, 1930 in Lipscomb; died January 19, 2016 in McCalla) was a former homicide investigator for the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, assistant to Sheriff Mel Bailey, and member of the Jefferson County Commission.

Orange was the son of Willie Hugh and Lillian Adams Orange of Lipscomb. He graduated from Jones Valley High School in 1949 and served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War. He joined the Birmingham Police Department in 1955 and transferred to the Sheriff's Department in 1957. His wife, the former Mary Frances Stacy, suffered a debilitating aneurysm in 1960 and was confined to a wheelchair for the remainder of her life. The experience of caring for her and their four young children led Orange to a "spiritual awakening."

In 1967 Orange and fellow Jefferson County deputy Dan Jordan arrested Martin Luther King Jr during his flight from Atlanta to Birmingham to turn himself in on the outstanding charge of parading without a permit, for which he would serve four days in jail. Orange was in attendance at King's "March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom" in August 1964.

On September 15, 1970 Orange brought 15 other officers to help serve an eviction notice at a house in Tarrant City where he had been warned that members of the Alabama Black Liberation Front were planning an ambush. Five people inside the house were arrested. Wayland Bryant and Ronald Williams were charged with felony assault for threatening officers with firearms.

During his career, Orange completed bachelor's and master's degrees in criminal justice at UAB. He also took theology classes later on at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.

Orange was elected to represent the Bessemer cutoff on the Jefferson County Commission in a special election in 1982 to fill the vacant seat left by the resignation of Tom Gloor. He was re-elected in 1986 and succeeded Chris Doss as president from 1987 to 1990.

Orange lost to challenger Mary Buckelew in the 1990 election. His popularity was hurt because of his vote for the Jefferson County Occupational Tax, which he considered a necessary evil since the Alabama State Legislature had offered no other means for the county to comply with a federal court order to provide new jail facilities.

While in office, Orange was also pastor of Bayview United Methodist Church in Mulga. In 1992 he took over the pulpit at Cahaba United Methodist Church. He returned to Bayview from 1995 to 2005. After leaving public office, Orange worked as associate director of the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center. In his retirement, Orange published a memoir of his Civil Rights era experiences.

Orange died in January 2016. He was survived by his wife, Frances; four children (Jennifer, Kathy, David Jr & John), and eight grandchildren.

Preceded by:
Tom Gloor
Jefferson County Commission District 3
Succeeded by:
Mary Buckelew
Preceded by:
Chris Doss
Jefferson County Commission President
Succeeded by:


  • Orange, David Wayne (2005) From Segregation to Civil Rights and Beyond: A Story of the Southland. PublishAmerica ISBN 1413734723


  • Kelly, Mark (May 1, 2013) "Exclusive: Interview with an icon." Weld for Birmingham
  • Garrison, Greg (January 29, 2016) "Lawman, former commission president, made last arrest of Martin Luther King Jr." The Birmingham News