In Memoriam: Elizabeth Martinez

Elizabeth Martinez


Elizabeth “Betita” Martinez died June 29, 2021 in San Francisco. She worked for SNCC in Mississippi during Freedom Summer 1964 and as the Director of the NY SNCC Office in 1964-65 and was then known as Liz Sutherland. She was editor of “The Movement: Documentary of a Struggle for Equality” (1964), a pictorial history of the civil rights movement, with text by Lorraine Hansberry. Ms. Martínez directed the royalties to Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. She edited “Letters From Mississippi,” correspondence from the mostly white Northern college students who had volunteered in the Mississippi registration drive. She also edited James Forman’s autobiography, “The Making of Black Revolutionaries: A Personal Account” (1972). Elizabeth was born in 1925 in Washington, DC and was raised in the Maryland suburbs. Her mother was American-born and her father was from Mexico. Liz later claimed her Latina heritage and reverted to her birth name, Martinez. She is survived by her daughter Tessa.

Read more:

New York Times obituary:

Los Angeles Times obituary:

SNCC Digital Gateway:

Washington Post obituary:

Elizabeth Martinez