In Memoriam: William Porter

William Porter

William Porter, 76, son of the late John and Lizzie Mae Porter of Albany, GA, went to be with the Lord on Friday, Aug. 24, 2018. Known to family as “Bill” and to friends as “Porter,” he was born on Nov. 3, 1941, the second oldest of eight children. He attended local schools and spent two years at Albany State College, when the civil rights struggle drew him into voter registration efforts.

A participant in the 1961 Albany Movement to desegregate public facilities, he left school in 1962 to devote his energies to become a soldier in the cause of freedom. He became Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s (SCLC) coordinator of Citizenship Schools in the area to teach people how to pass the literacy tests on their knowledge of the U.S. Constitution in order to vote. He joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) (known familiarly as “Snick”), 1962-1967, serving under Chairmen Charles McDew and John Lewis as chief file clerk; project director in Gadsden and Birmingham, AL; southern fundraiser; campus coordinator; scholarship coordinator; conference coordinator; assistant director of the research library; and Atlanta Office manager.

Some of the documents he created and accumulated are known as the “William Porter Papers,” part of the SNCC Archives at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Social Change in Atlanta, GA.

Later, while obtaining his B.S. degree in Business from the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Bill met the love of his life, Violet Brodie, and married her, stating in the wedding ceremony that he was also, in effect, marrying her two children, Eileen and Anthony, to show his unconditional fatherly love for them. Bill yearned to be a minister and gave his first sermon at Bethel AME Church in Iowa City. The family moved to Washington, DC, where Bill and Violet were blessed with a son, William Robin Porter. Bill was a correctional officer in the juvenile detention system, and lived in Maryland before moving to Henry County, GA in 2008. Possessing a gentle demeanor with a steadfast determination to do whatever he set out to do, Bill was known for his love of “throwing down” in the kitchen with his down-home culinary skills.

He leaves to cherish his memory his wife, Violet Porter of McDonough, GA; a daughter, Eileen Leona Brodie, of the Atlanta, GA area; two sons, Anthony Mason of McDonough, and William Robin Porter of Maryland; and eight grandchildren.

Submitted by Brother-in-law William Durant.

William Porter
(William Porter – Far left)