Sam Block was born in Cleveland, MS. After high school he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. In 1961 Sam heard about the Freedom Rides. When he came home in 1962 he became a SNCC Field Secretary assigned to Greenwood, MS to work on voter registration.
In 1963 after one of Mr. Block’s arrests, a judge offered to suspend his sentence if he would agree to stop working for SNCC, give up the voter registration project and leave town. ”Judge,” Mr. Block replied. ”I ain’t gonna do none of that.”
“He brought raw physical courage, limitless energy and a fine singing voice to the movement,” wrote the New York Times in his obituary. Taylor Branch wrote: “Mr. Block became a pivotal figure in Greenwood as the town’s importance in the civil rights struggle grew. As the one S.N.C.C. student who lived continuously in Greenwood during the nine months of the registration project, Block had acquired a local reputation as a stubborn, lonely figure among the strange new breed of devout daredevils.”
Sam Block died April 13, 2000 at age 60.