Civil rights veteran Dorie Ladner honored in documentary

Deborah Barfield Berry , Gannett Mississippi  November 5, 2016

WASHINGTON — Civil rights veterans gathered Thursday night for the screening of a mini-documentary about Hattiesburg native Dorie Ladner and her work registering blacks to vote in Mississippi.

Ladner, an organizer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, was among the “foot soldiers’’ of the civil rights movement challenging segregation in the Deep South during the turbulent 1960s.

“I wanted to confront the issue head on,” Ladner, 74, told the crowd after Thursday’s screening. “I just felt like I wanted to get out and do the work.”

Civil rights veterans from SNCC and the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), packed an auditorium at the University of the District of Columbia for the screening of “Well-Behaved Women Don’t Make ‘Her-Story’: The Dorie Ladner Story.’’

It was the second showing of the film. The first was at Tougaloo College in Jackson earlier in the week. It will also be shown at the University of Southern Mississippi next February, organizers said.

The 23-minute film was the brainchild of Tougaloo students who met Ladner in 2014 at a conference hosted by the college to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer. Tougaloo College played a key role in the civil rights movement, hosting meetings and staging rallies. Many civil rights workers were Tougaloo students.

Yasmin Gabriel, the film’s executive producer, said students wanted to showcase the contribution of Ladner, who went to Tougaloo.

“It became a real intergenerational, symbiotic thing,” said Gabriel, also the special assistant to Tougaloo College President Beverly Hogan Wade. “Dorie Ladner is the kind of person who is selfless.”

 
October 25, 2016
San Antonio SNCC working with our courageous youth:
SNCC Legacy Project will Begin in November


By Mario Marcel Salas

A historic project is underway across the country, and in San Antonio, Texas
as veterans of the Student National Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)
meet to organize projects and programs that seek to educate the nation. The
project in San Antonio will attempt to reach out to young activists in the Black
Lives Matter Movement in the form of two events; a poetry reading and a workshop
designed to train people on what to do when stopped by the police.

In the 1960’S, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee traveled to
the Jim Crow South to register African Americans to vote. It was extremely
dangerous work to do such a thing. Today, people across the country are
attempting to reform police departments that employ centuries-old abusive
practices. These activists are taking to the streets as blacks are being killed
in disproportionate numbers in encounters with the police. These young people
face the same criticisms from white supremacists as did the SNCC veterans in
the 1960’S. They even face the same type of criticisms from ignorant black folk
in much the same way as Martin Luther King and SNCC suffered from
conservative blacks that did not want to support the freedom struggle.
 
The project in San Antonio will reach out to young
social activists in the Black Lives Matter Movement in the form of two historic
events.
SNCC in San Antonio fought the segregationist policies of the city and
the county in various demonstrations that ranged from a large demonstration in
downtown San Antonio to the takeover of a school that was practicing racist
discrimination.  San Antonio SNCC started the first Free Breakfast Program in San
Antonio, at Antioch Baptist Church, which was later adopted by the SAISD (San
Antonio School District). SNCC in San Antonio was complimented by the Langston
Hughes Afro-American Theater, which was a group of poets and activists that used
the medium of theater productions and poetry to bring home the message of
liberation for blacks. The SNCC office and the Langston Hughes Afro-American Theater was located at the corner of Iowa and Pine in an old black theater building that unfortunately was torn down some years
back. 
The first event is a poetry reading, with an open microphone for
poets, around the theme of Black Lives Matter scheduled for November 18th.
Please try to attend this event on November 18th, beginning at 8 pm, at the
Little Carver located at 226 N. Hackberry Street.  It will be in part a
celebration of SNCC and the veterans of the Civil Rights Movement and Langston
Hughes Afro-American Theater. The poetry will be centered on the issues facing
the communities of color. 
 
The second event, the date and location of this event will be
announced, is a "KNOW YOUR RIGHTS WORKSHOP," dealing with police encounters in
minority communities. The program will feature attorneys and SNCC veterans who
have fought police brutality for years. Presenters will include ACLU
(American Civil Liberties Union) lawyers and African American Attorneys, as well
as Mario Salas, a SNCC civil rights veteran, and Claudius Minor of SNCC.

For information on the national efforts for justice go to the Texas Black Power
Chronicles, or the SNCC Legacy Project website at http://www.sncclegacyproject.org/ 
Donation for the event is $8, but $5 if you bring a copy of the flyer on your phone or a hard copy available on the Mario Marcel Salas Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/mario.m.salas
 
Charlottesville, VA October 20, 2016
Remarks on the occasion of a Symposium at the University of Virginia on the life and work of Julian Bond:
Julian Bond, SNCC, the Movement—Changing a Generation
Remarks by Charles Cobb, Jr.
It is difficult to imagine a grown-up civil rights leader in 1960—someone our parents or grandparents age—voicing something like this:
Look at that gal
Shake that thang
We can’t all be
Martin Luther King
This is a young voice and Julian Bond is the young voice we are hearing. He wrote that in 1960; and setting aside the fact that we hear a male voice lasciviously eying someone of the opposite sex, the deeper meaning of this couplet reflects an important change defining his and my generation. “We can’t all be Martin Luther King.”
It is perhaps worth briefly noting before going further that Julian once wanted to be a standup comedian and with another important figure in SNCC, Connie Curry, even enrolled in a comedy school for a time. Students of his here at this university have almost certainly encountered his wry humor.
But getting back to my main point: It is unfortunate that mid-20th century civil rights struggle has come to be largely defined by mass protest in public spaces led by charismatic leaders, with Martin Luther King being the great symbol of this—and in making this comment let me stress that I am not attacking Dr. King. However, the young people who spilled into the southern freedom movement, creating SNCC and expanding CORE—the Congress of Racial Equality, changed the dynamic of civil rights struggle by making a commitment to community organizing at the grassroots in the black belt south. It was struggle at this level that actually powered the movement. There is a straight line, for example, between the grassroot organizing that led to the creation of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party and the election of Barak Obama. Tim Jenkins here can tell you how student protests in Atlanta got John Kennedy elected in 1960.
I do not have enough time to even begin elaborating on all of the dimensions of this organizing tradition, but it is important to note here that community organizing around ideas of freedom is a very old tradition in America’s Black communities. Enslaved Africans, after all, were not marching in protest on auction blocks nor sitting-in in plantation manor dining rooms seeking a seat at “massa’s” table. No. They were organizing—escapes, revolts, sabotage, even assassinations. They were also communicating in various ways ideas of rebellion and resistance. The kind of role Julian played as SNCC communications director began long before SNCC or the 20th century.
However, whether we start with resistance and revolts by African people in the 17th, 18th or 19th centuries, or with mid-20th century struggle, key to understanding Black struggle are the challenges Black people made to one another within the Black community. This aspect of the movement is often overlooked.  Like most journalists, I am always walking around with a few stories in my pocket. So, here is one that immediately comes to mind that Julian liked to tell explaining his first involvement with the movement. The sit-ins had just erupted in Greensboro, North Carolina. Julian, a student at Morehouse College in Atlanta, was sitting in a student hangout when another student, Lonnie King, came up to him with a copy of the Atlanta Daily World, Atlanta’s daily Back newspaper. A headline read “Greensboro students sit in for third day.”
“Have you seen this?” Lonnie asked him.
“Yes,” Julian replied.
“What do you think about it?” Lonnie inquired.
“I think it’s great!” said Julian
“Don’t you think it ought to happen here? Lonnie pressed.
“Oh I’m sure it will,” responded Julian. “Surely someone here will do it.”
Then what came to me, recalled Julian, “as it came to others in those early days in 1960, a query, an invitation, and a command.”
“Why don’t we make it happen here.”
Thus the Atlanta movement was born. Look at any movement event and you will see they almost always begin with challenges within the Black community. This is how today’s Movement for Black Lives began although with facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like they have a lot more at their disposal than we had in 1960. Lawrence Guyot a SNCC field secretary who became chair of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) remarked once, “You can’t challenge institutions without challenging yourself first.” Or, as Congressman John Lewis, a former SNCC Chairman, challenged students in a commencement address this past spring: “If you see something that’s not right, not fair, not just, do something about it. Say something. Do something. Have the courage. Have the backbone to get in the way.”
This is Julian’s story. And his story, like the story of the movement itself, did not spring on the scene fully developed in its ideas and practices. It evolved; it grew. The Julian Bond who refused to disassociate himself from SNCC’s 1966 anti-Vietnam war statement had grown/evolved considerably from the Julian Bond who emerged as one of the sit-in leaders of the Atlanta Movement that wondered whether Bob Moses, another legendary figure in SNCC, might be a Communist. Just as the SNCC of 1966 embracing Black Power had evolved from the SNCC that was formed as nonviolent sit-ins spread in 1960. The lesson for those taking seriously and wanting to understand today’s still-emergent movement for black lives is that the young minds shaping it are still in the process of forming the ideas and practices that will drive it. I sit on the board of the SNCC Legacy Project and we consistently try and make our experiences of half a century ago available for use when relevant.
 
Crucial to understanding Julian’s story, and resonating today with the surge of young activism of the Movement for Black Lives, is the emergence of young people into leadership that accompanied the sit-in movement. It was something of a first in the long history of Black struggle although I do not mean to diminish the significance of the Southern Negro Youth Congress formed in the mid 1930s—SNYC, the first Snick some of whose leaders were influential with us in the 1960s. Still, shortly after sit-ins began in Greensboro, Martin Luther King speaking in Durham, North Carolina could declare, “What is fresh, what is new in your fight is the fact that it was initiated, fed and sustained by students.” Dr. King wanted these young activists to organize and become part of his organization, SCLC. The students, encouraged by one of the great figures of 20th century struggle, Ella Baker, resisted that and thus SNCC was born. Julian was there at this birthing. Time forces me to skip over a lot of the nuance that forms part of this decision. But these are the roots of some legendary figures in the southern movement: John Lewis, Stokley Carmichael, Diane Nash, Ruby Doris Smith Robinson, Charles Sherrod, among them. And Julian.
One step leads to another. The sit-ins resulted in arrests for many. You have to understand, this movement was led by Black college students, many of whom were the first in their families to get to college. You weren’t supposed to go to jail.  You were supposed to, in the language of the time, “Make something of yourself.”  So what’s happening. Again, with great relevance today I think, Charles Sherrod, SNCC’s project director in Southwest Georgia captured exactly what speaking to a reporter after serving a 30-day sentence laboring on a road gang for sitting in in a segregated restaurant in Rock Hill South Carolina: “You get ideas in jail. You talk with other young people you have never seen. Right away we recognize each other. People like yourself, getting out of the past. We’re up all night, sharing creativity, planning action. You learn the truth in prison, you learn wholeness. You find out the difference between being dead and alive.”
That’s Charles Sherrod at 22 years of age. You almost had to be young to think like that although some grownups come to mind: Bayard Rustin, Pauli Murray, James Farmer and Jim Forman. Among the young activists emerging in 1960 history was driving another momentous decision: Dropping out of school to commit full time to movement work. And if going to jail was difficult for parents and relatives to get their heads around, leaving school even for a short while made little sense at all. We live today in an era in which “gap years” for almost any purpose are fairly common. But back in the day when aunts, uncles, mom, dad, grandma and grandpa had scrapped together nickels, pennies, and dollars to get you to school. . . leaving, dropping out. What’s wrong with you, boy!?
In my view and this of course can be debated, dropping out of school was the single most important decision that shaped SNCC. Julian was among that early group of dropouts. And this brings me to a point that I’ll only make briefly here. Julian came from a prominent Black family. The backgrounds of those who left school to become part of SNCC’s expanding work seems to have cut through traditional distinctions of class. Exploring this is worthy of another symposium. Furthering this was the influence of Ella Baker who stressed to SNCC the necessity of organizing from the bottom up in the rural black belt south. Neither Julian nor SNCC would have become what they became without her. Again, something worthy of another symposium.
I am running out of time so let me move quickly to some sort of conclusion. First, however, an acknowledgement of what Julian built in SNCC from the perspective of someone who was a SNCC field secretary in rural Mississippi. These places—Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, could make you disappear. They were murderous though that seems to be forgotten these days. People got killed for trying to exercise rights we take for granted now. And Julian, as SNCC’s communications director played an important role in keeping us alive. Via Julian, we had a route to public awareness. It was much harder to disappear us in these rural counties. This was something we could not do very well from our various places as field secretaries. I am here in part to acknowledge this great debt to Julian and the department he built.
I have not done several things in this presentation; in particular, I have not presented a biography of Julian. You can go online or get a book for that. I have tried to give you some context for Julian’s movement life which leads us to a legacy that I think the arc of his life reveals: That is that struggle continues; a luta continua as Mozambican freedom fighters used to say. Clearly much work remains to be done. The challenge of this work is really a challenge to you. Want to make change. Change yourself. See something wrong; do something about it.
Thank you.
October 20, 2016
University of Virginia
Charlottesville, Virginia
 
 
The following are remarks prepared for those assembled in Albany, Georgia on October 8, 2016, to celebrate the Sherrod 50th Wedding Anniversary :
My sainted grandmother advised me and my siblings that in deciding whom to seek as reliable life-long friends, we should pay special attention to those who came early to important events and stayed late. That advice has proven true regarding Charles and Shirley Sherrod. When SNCC was founded in 1960 Charles distinguished himself early as a stalwart leader among leaders — not only in Albany, Georgia, but throughout the South. In the ensuing years, I came to recount his bravery in my standard stump speeches at countless fundraisers on college campuses across the country, which I had entitled “The Three Charles’s”— a rhetorical salute to SNCC’s trio of Chuck McDew, Charlie Jones and Sherrod as exemplars of those remaking America through serving as student role models. In the ensuing years, I came to know Shirley as another who came early and stayed late at all things committed to the enlargement of justice, belatedly vindicated in spite of her malicious would-be detractors. That is why it is a personal privilege for me to come to this special event to honor fifty years of the faithful vows of the Sherrods, not only in my own right, but on behalf of Medgar, Malcolm, and Martin and others, who due to circumstances beyond their control could not be here in the flesh to offer their congratulations. Events like this have widely different motives: to celebrate honoree celebrity, to recognize honoree importance, or to acknowledge honoree significance. This is an event of special significance, because it does not rest on erstwhile public acclaim or newspaper headlines, nor on the status of holding exalted official titles for the honorees alone. Instead, we come in the name of the human value resulting from the Sherrod’s life work, which will be felt in the lives of those who come after them and long after their individual names will no longer be remembered. — Their legacy will be heard in the countless giggles of youngsters carelessly splashing in integrated public pools. It will be seen when seniors lean on one another going to the polls to cast their ballots unafraid and unashamed to cast out scoundrels and reward better successors. It will be manifest when deserving recipients successfully apply for and receive public benefits paid for through public taxes without fear or favor. When I told the airport taxi driver upon my arrival where I was going and why, he steadfastly refused my dollars upon my delivery saying that my “fare had already been paid for” by the life and work of the Sherrods whom I planned to honor for their having come early and stayed late here in Albany for the enlargement of justice. His spontaneously heartfelt gesture said it all! Thank you Shirley and Charles for providing me and countless others a free ride in your name. Surely Medgar, Malcolm, and Martin and all the SNCC martyrs and family are joining me in this expression of profound gratitude and lasting appreciation. Congratulations and God’s speed for a half century well spent! Timothy L. Jenkins, SNCC Legacy Member
 
Albany, GA October 8, 2016
Letter to Charles and  Shirley  Sherrod  from the SNCC Legacy Project on the occassion of their 50th Anniversary:
 
The SNCC Legacy Project wishes to congratulate Charles and Shirley Sherrod for the half century they have been married. But we are also compelled to recognize that even longer than their marriage to each other has been their marriage to the Movement, here in Albany and Southwest Georgia. Thus, the tribute we are paying them embraces not only their love and commitment to each other, but also includes their often heroic service in the fight for freedom. Those of us in the Movement, especially those of us who were associated with SNCC as we are in the legacy project, find their work as inspirational in the 21st century as we did in the 20th century. Few activists and organizers have adhered to a higher moral standard than these two, and few have kept their eyes on the prize as long. They give real meaning to that freedom song born in the heat of Albany’s civil rights battles, that “Freedom is a Constant Struggle.” To the two of you, Charles and Shirley, let us say, and let it be known wherever voices are raised for freedom and bodies are put on the line for freedom that we are truly honored to be part of your family.
In struggle, SNCC Legacy Project
 
Washington, DC September 14, 2016
Guest Blogger: Charles Cobb, SNCC Legacy Project Board Member
The backlash against Colin Kaepernick – and all of his colleagues who are refusing to stand for the national anthem – is growing. His protest against racism and police brutality is being widely panned as unpatriotic, and some have gone as far as to call him a traitor. I would say the backlash is puzzling, except it’s not. I have long recognized that this is a common response to black protest – one I witnessed as far back as the civil rights movement.

Within the context of sports protest, the raised black-gloved fists of protest by John Carlos and Tommie Smith at the 1968 Mexico Olympics comes immediately to mind. Less noticed than their dramatically raised fists was the fact that both athletes wore black socks and no shoes when they accepted their medals. This was to represent the poverty of African Americans in the United States. They suffered insult and abuse when they returned home. Time magazine wrote: “Faster, Higher, Stronger” is the motto of the Olympic Games. “‘Angrier, nastier, uglier’ better describes the scene in Mexico City last week”.

Most Americans opposed the sit-ins when they erupted in 1960; and opposed the Freedom Rides when they took place in 1961. Young black people were pushing too hard, demanding too much too soon was the typical charge. The country was changing; give it time. Most black people it should be said here were not engaged in sit-ins or Freedom Rides for there was risk, sometimes great risk, involved in public protest. But it also must be said that the country changed because of aggressive pushing against segregation and white supremacy and the silence that supported it.

Protest will always make someone uncomfortable, or governments uncomfortable. It is, however, the American way – a liberty for which blood has been shed at home and overseas. The civil rights movement of the 1960s, for example, was not only a struggle for civil rights, but for civil liberties – the right to speak and to engage in public protest.

And yet, to this day, some forms of protest are more criticized than others. I cannot help but notice that the public rage being directed at Kaepernick and those emulating him is disproportionate. Compare Kaepernick’s “crime” with that of the Bundy brothers and their group, which orchestrated an armed takeover of a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon. While Kaepernick has been called unpatriotic, the Bundy brothers and the rest of the so-called Citizens for Constitutional Freedom were never labeled that way.

Those behind the takeover of the wildlife refuge felt that they were acting to assert an American way of life they felt was under assault. Yet Kaepernick and his colleagues feel that their lives are under assault too, that they do not matter, to borrow from a slogan currently rising in prominence politically. As these football field protests have grown from a single act to actions by a growing number, so too has the backlash.

And, while I draw the line at violent protest such as the armed Malheur national wildlife refuge protest or Ku Klux Klan terrorism that plagued the country for a century after the civil war, I do not make a distinction between good protest and bad protest.

There are protests that reflect what I agree with or what I believe in and those that do not. But that issue is not fundamental to their legitimacy. The protesting athletes are simply trying to push the country to live up to its professed ideals. To accuse them of being unpatriotic – now that is what seems un-American to me. --Charles Cobb

 
 
Washington DC August 5-6, 2016
 
The SNCC Legacy Project Board met in Washington, DC August 5 and 6; here is the group.
L-R Seated: Judy Richardson, Karen Spellman, Zoharah Simmons, Maria Varela, Sharlene Kranz.
L-R standing: Kim Johnson, Cynthia Palmer, Charles Cobb, Courtland Cox, Larry Rubin, Timothy Jenkins, Charles McDew
 
After the meeting we enjoyed a musical program at the African-American Civil Rights Museum entitled "The Songs of Matthew Jones".  Matthew Jones was a SNCC Field Secretary and long-time member of the SNCC Freedom Singers.  He also wrote and copyrighted more than 500 songs during his career.  The musical duo Magpie performed.
 
Enjoying the program are (L-R): Dorie Ladner, Susie Erenrich, Frank Smith (Director of the Museum), Terry Leonino (Magpie), Judy Richardson, Greg Artzner (Magpie), and Maria Varela.
Photo by Deborah Menkart.
 
Washington, DC July 23, 2016
SNCC veterans Courtland Cox and Judiy Richardson spoke on a panel today at the March on Washington Film Festival.  Their talk accompanied the new film "Two Trains Running".
Orlando Florida July 22, 2016
 
SNCC veteran Robert Moses (seated) appeared at a South Florida bookstore with author Laura Visser-Maessen to sign copies of the new biography  "Robert Parris Moses: A life in civil rights and leadership at the grassroots."  Standing and waiting to get his books signed is SNCC veteran Charles Cobb.
Washington, DC July 14, 2016
Three of the original SNCC Freedom Singers reunited for a program last night in Washington, DC.  
L-R: Chuck Neblett, Rutha Harris, and Bernice Johnson Reagon
 
Washington, DC June 29, 2016
SNCC Legacy Project received an award from Teaching for Change at a lovely program tonight at Busboys & Poets in DC's Brookland neighborhood.  Accepting the award on behalf of SLP was SNCC veteran Judy Richardson.  The award was presented to Judy by noted author Marita Golden.
 
 
 
 
Phoenix, Arizona June 18, 2016
Bob Moses testified before the Democratic National Convention Platform Committee hearing on voting rights in Phoenix.  You can see Bob's testimony here:
 
 
Washington, DC May 19, 2016
Jennifer Lawson and Judy Richardson gave a book talk at The Potter's House about "Hands on the Freedom Plow: Personal Accounts by Women in SNCC".
 
Washington, DC May 13, 2016
Hundreds of friends and family of Ivanhoe Donaldson gathered in Washington, DC today to remember and celebrate his life and work.  In this photo, the SNCC Freedom Singers: Charles Neblett, Rutha Harris, Emory Harris, and Bill Perlman sing at the memorial.  Joyce Ladner, left, was one of the master of ceremonies.  On the wall to the right is an image of Ivanhoe's mug shot.
 
At the end of the memorial program, SNCC veterans came to the front of the church and sang "May the Circle Be Unbroken."
At a gathering of SNCC veterans after the memorial service, SNCC Legacy Project Chairman Courtland Cox shares his memories of Ivanhoe Donaldson.
Photos by Byron Buck..
You can view Timothy Jenkins eulogy for Ivanhoe Donaldson on YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUxWza2YOwI
You can view the entire memorial service on Vimeo: 
 
 
Durham, NC March 19, 2016
Watch as SNCC Veterans Charlie Cobb and Judy Richardson join Mark Anthony Neal of "Left of Black" at Duke University  for a conversation about grassroots organizing, the importance of research, and the energy of young activists today.
 
 
Washington, DC February 27, 2016
The SNCC Legacy Project Board met in Washington, DC and posed for this portrait.
Top row, L-R: Cynthia Palmer, Kim Johnson, Courtland Cox,  Charlie Cobb, Joyce Ladner, Judy Richardson, Bruce Hartford, Jennifer Lawson.
Seated, L-R:  Sharlene Kranz, Karen Spellman,  Chuck McDew, and Geri Augusto
 
 
 
North Carolina February 26, 2016
Check out this amazing video from the youth of the North Carolina NAACP:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6G0i_bfj9SXUUZvSVQzT1JCaDQ/view
 
 
Washington, DC February 24, 2016
 
2015 Selma Foot Soldiers Bronze medal lead
 

The Selma Foot Soldiers, whose protests in 1965 helped lead to passage of the Voting Rights Act, were recognized Feb. 24 on Capitol Hill with a congressional gold medal.

The ceremonies were held in Emancipation Hall of the Capitol Visitor Center.

The enabling legislation, Public Law 114-5, was signed into law by President Obama on March 7, 2015, the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, so named for the protesters' blood spilled by Alabama State Police. It was the first of three marches attempted from Selma, Ala., to the state capital to Montgomery, in search of equality in the voting process.

The marchers had assembled on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma to begin their quest. The hundreds of protesters were led by John Lewis, chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, which attempted to register African-Americans to vote throughout the state of Alabama, and the Rev. Hosea Williams, of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Lewis is currently a U.S. congressman who has represented Georgia's Fifth Congressional District since elected to Congress in November 1986. Lewis is senior chief deputy whip for the Democratic Party in leadership in the House.

Williams, who continued his civil rights efforts and community service for decades, died at age 74 in 2000.

 

 

Washington, DC February 17, 2016
SNCC veteran Dorie Ladner spoke at the U.S. Department of Justice Black History Month program today.  Here's coverage of her talk:
 
 
Washington, DC February 12, 2016
Was Senator Bernie Sanders ever a part of SNCC?  The magazine Mother Jones  reported today:
"As Mother Jones reported previously, while enrolled at the University of Chicago (1962) Sanders was involved in the campus chapter of the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE), another civil rights group.  During his junior year, Sanders, by then president of the university's CORE chapter, led a picket of a Howard Johnson's restaurant in Chicago, part of a coordinated nationwide protest against the motel and restaurant chain's racially discriminatory policies. Sanders eventually resigned his post at CORE, citing a heavy workload, and took some time off from school.
Under Sanders' leadership, the CORE group at University of Chicago joined forces with SNCC's campus chapter, held sit-ins to protest segregation in university-owned apartment buildings, and raised money for voter registration efforts focused on African Americans."
 
Wikipedia reports:  "CORE activist Bernie Sanders led a rally at the University of Chicago administration building to protest university president George Wells Beadle's segregated campus housing policy. “We feel it is an intolerable situation, when Negro and white students of the university cannot live together in university owned apartments,” Sanders said at the protest. Sanders then strode into the building, along with 32 other students and camped out outside the president’s office, performing the first civil rights sit-in in Chicago history.

From January 23 to February 5, 1962  Sanders and the other civil rights protesters pressured Beadle and the university to form a commission to investigate discrimination. Beadle met with 300 students in the Ida Noyes Hall theater to announce that further sit-ins would be prohibited and that a committee would be formed to investigate CORE's charges of racial discrimination in University-owned buildings. "

 

In another on-line article, Nathan Wellman writes on USUncut a similar account, with clippings as added documentation:

http://usuncut.com/news/john-lewis-bernie-sanders-civil-rights-movement/

 

Finally, SNCC Staff photographer Danny Lyon posted this first-hand account of how he took pictures of civil rights activist Bernie Sanders at the University of Chicago in 1962:

 Celebrated civil rights photographer Danny Lyons has stepped forward to shoot down these accusations with his own testimony and additional pictures from the same event:

“In 1962 and the spring of 1963 I was the student photographer at the University of Chicago, making pictures for the yearbook, the Alumni Magazine, and the student paper, The Maroon. By the summer of 1962, I had taken my camera into the deep South and become the first photographer for SNCC.

“That winter at the University of Chicago, there was a sit-in inside the administration building protesting discrimination against blacks in university owned housing,” Lyons said. “I went to it with a CORE activist and friend. The sit in was in a crowded hallway, blocking the entrance to the office of Dr. George Beadle, the chancellor.

“I took the photograph of Bernie Sanders speaking to his fellow CORE members at that sit-in… Time Magazine is now claiming it is not Bernie in the picture but someone else. It is Bernie, and it is proof of his very early dedication to justice for African Americans. The CORE sit-in that Bernie helped lead was the first civil rights sit-in to take place in the North.”

Danny Lyons released these additional photos to prove Sanders' record.

Danny Lyons released these additional photos to prove Sanders’ record.

 

Massachusetts January 15, 2016
Message from Bill Perlman:
Sadly, my mother, Lucille Perlman died early this morning at home. She was 101. 
She was a gentle warrior working for causes that supported her philosophy of justice and civil rights.
Most significantly she volunteered for the International Labor Defense in the 1930s, and for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in the 1960s and was on, and chaired the board of the Brooklyn Children's Museum. 
Both her sons followed her lead. Lee, who passed away a couple of yearsago as a crusading journalist in Portland, Oregon and Bill who was SNCC staff and still performs with the Freedom Singers. 
She stayed true her beliefs through the end. She died peacefully in her sleep with her family by her side.
 
Washington, DC January 12, 2016
SLP Board members Judy Richardson and Courtland Cox were part of a panel at the National Press Club celebrating the anniversary of a speech Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave at the Club in July 1962.  Excerpts from the speech were played and panelists commented on their content and significance.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Judy Richardson at the podium.
 
 
Tuskegee, Alabama January 3, 2016
George Parris 
gave the eulogy
Family, friends and colleagues of Sammy Young, Jr. gathered at First Methodist Church in Tuskegee today on the 50th anniversary of his murder.  In what was once a
white-only church, Sammy was remembered for his brilliance, his leadership, his energy, and his fearlessness.   Here are some scenes from the program:
             
                                              Robert Moses, Sharlene Kranz and Guy                         Bob Moses speaking       Sammy's cousins Marquis Dunlap, Ebony            Tuskegee youth
                                              Trammell of Tuskegee who organized the program                                                 Gilbreath and (seated) Harriet Gilbreath
An article about Sammy Younge Jr. appeared in the NY Daily News:
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/black-man-killed-bathroom-alabama-1966-article-1.2645287
 
Washington, DC December 13, 2015
Preparing to go in three weeks to Tuskegee, Alabama for the 50th Anniversary commemoration of the murder of Sammy Younge, Jr.  Sammy was a student at Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University, a SNCC staffer, and a Navy veteran.  He was shot and killed by a gas station owner when he tried to use the 'white' restroom.  I knew Sammy Younge, Jr, having spent the summer of 1965 at Tuskegee.  SNCC Executive Secretary James Forman wrote a book about Sammy Younge, Jr. and the murder:  
More information is available at:
http://sammyyoungejr.weebly.com/sammys-bio.html
 
Washington, DC November 23, 2015
On the first anniversary of the death of SNCC's first Chair, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser announced the naming of a road for him.  The road is located in the Ward that Barry represented on the City Council, Ward 8.  
 
 mayor for life
 
 
Washington, DC November 22, 2015
 
At the Smithsonian yesterday I watched a documentary entitled "Mississippi Inferno: Seeds of Revolt", produced for the Smithsonian TV Channel and narrated by Danny Glover.  The film documents the importance of black land owners in Mississippi in the early 1960's and the crucial support they gave to the civil rights movement and civil rights workers.  Not only did they house civil rights workers, but they put up their land as 'property bonds' to bail SNCC workers out of jail.  Interviewees in the film include Lawrence Guyot (SNCC/MFDP), Charlie Cobb (SNCC), Robert Moses (SNCC), and Dave Dennis (CORE), Hartman Turnbow (Milestone, MS land owner) and Edmond Clark  (Milestone, MS land owner).  You can view the film at:
http://www.smithsonianchannel.com/shows/mississippi-inferno/seeds-of-revolt/1003667/3416953
 
Washington, DC October 26, 2015
 
The SNCC Legacy Project and Duke University recently co-sponsored a 3-day conference in Durham, N.C. to discuss challenges to voting rights across the U.S.
 
Twenty SNCC veterans worked with young activists from across the country to brain-storm actions and strategies to combat voter suppression at the local, state and federal level.  Legislation that would end Sunday voting, curtail early voting, eliminate registration-by-mail and same-day registration, and require government-issued I.D.s to vote is being implemented nationwide.  These measures tend to suppress voter participation particularly among young, low-income and minority voters.  In fact, Alabama just closed 90 percent of its DMV offices, a move that will make it very difficult—indeed onerous—for Alabamans to get a government-issued I.D. – a driver’s license.
 
At the conference in Durham, among the young activists was a group from a new SNCC chapter recently formed at Shaw University.  The students from Shaw know their school was the birthplace of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in April 1960.  Chantel Wright, President of the Shaw SNCC chapter, identified the group’s priorities as:
 1. Dealing with adversity, injustice, and inequalities.
 2. To enrich our community through unity, student activism, forums, and high scholastics.
 3. Recognizing the imperfections of society and making a commitment to positive change in the African American community. 
 
Here is a photo of some of the SNCC veterans at the conference with some of the students from Shaw.  The Shaw students are: Chantel Wright, Acacia Cadogan, Devonta Speller, and Taliesha Holmes.  The SNCC veterans are (left to right):
Colia Liddell, Freddie Biddle, Judy Richardson and Charles Cobb.
 
 
Washington, D.C. October 19, 2015
 
An impromptu reunion of SNCC veterans took place in Washington, DC recently after the Julian Bond memorial program at the Lincoln Theater.  Dozens of former SNCC workers gathered at the African American Civil War Museum, directed by  former SNCC staffer Frank Smith.  They came from around the country: from Vancouver and Vermont, from Minnesota and Mississippi, and all points in between.  We had dinner, took a group photo, reminisced about Julian Bond and shared memories of the 60's.  Some lamented the fact that the get-together was triggered by the loss of a comrade, and wished we could get together more often for joyful reasons.    Four Freedom Singers - Chuck Neblett, Rutha Harris, Emory Harris, and Bill Perlman on guitar -  led us in song, their voices strong and uplifting.    Many of Julian's relatives - his children and grandchildren, sister Jane and brother James, attended .   Julian's son Michael Julian Bond, an Atlanta City Councilman, made remarks on behalf of the family and said they all enjoyed being made welcome by Julian's SNCC family.    Many smart phone pictures were taken home to remember an  evening of nostalgia and fellowship.
 
 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Photo by Lloyd Wolf
SNCC veterans at the reception, first row left to right:
Bill Strickland, Janet Moses, Karen Spellman, Courtland Cox, Judy Richardson, Reggie Robinson, Pam Jones, Jen Lawson, Chuck McDew, Freddie Green Biddle, Charles Cobb, Danny Lyon, Dion Diamond.
Second row, seated left to right:
Mary King, Chuck Neblett, Carol Rogoff, Margaret Herring, Roberta Yancy, Dinky Romilly, Rutha Harris, Dorothy Zellner
Top row, standing left to right:
Frank Smith,Junius Williams, Beni Ivey, Timothy Jenkins, Bill Perlman, Joyce Ladner, Shirley Cooks, Joan Trumpauer Mulholland, Kathy Sarachild, Juadine Henderson, Dorie Ladner, Penny Patch,  Euvester Simpson, Sharlene Kranz, Joan Browning, Betty Garman Robinson, Emily Schrader Adams, Sue Thrasher, Emory Harris, John Floyd
 
                                           Freedom Singers Chuck Neblett, Rutha Harris, and Bill Perlman
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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