Posts tagged ‘Civil Rights Movement’

Think your vote doesn’t count? THINK AGAIN.

Breaks my heart to hear young folk say they don’t vote because their vote doesn’t matter. How did we get THIS far off course from the work of the Freedom Riders of the 1960s? College students and teenagers lead that Movement—risking their lives against police with billy clubs, cattle prods and water hoses to make their voices heard. Did you know that teens as young as 12 and 13 wrote their last will and testament on the eve of protests? THAT is why your vote matters in 2018. Click through to my blog and share the post: a whole heap of young folk need to see it…

Read more…

Must-see Film ~ Screening in Albany, Georgia: Tuesday, 9/12/17


Albany Civil Rights Institute Presents Award-Winning Civil Rights Documentary & Discussion Featuring Several Black Albanians, Filmmaker

The Albany Civil Rights Institute will present an award-winning civil rights film, featuring multiple black Albanians, who fought on the front lines of the bloodiest campaign of the entire Civil Rights Movement.

                  The Institute will present the hour-long documentary, Passage at St. Augustine: The 1964 That Transformed America™, Tuesday, September 12, 2017 from 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. at 326 Whitney Avenue, Albany, GA 31701. The program will feature filmmaker Clennon L. King, and is free and open to the public. Read more…

My Father ~ Silas Jones ~ An Inspiration


Cira 1980s ~ My Father, Silas J. Jones in his back yard in Albany, GA after a miraculous snow fall. Yep, that’s a dusting of snow on the car…

Independence Day Musings ~

My father, Silas Jones, was born in 1921 in Putney, Georgia—a widening-in-the-road near Albany. I remember one summer when I was home—most likely during my Brooklyn, New York years: 1979-1985, we drove “down home” to visit my mother’s people in Bainbridge/Camilla. We were at a cousin’s house where the TV played perpetually. My cousin’s daughter, a toddler, sat too close to the set, spell-bound. My 6’2 father Read more…

Freedom Singers at the White House


Need an alternative to football after your turkey dinner? Check out this video. Especially important for the young folk among you…

Read more…

The Day the “Colored Sign” Walked Out

Penny Patch, Panola County, MS. 1965.
Photo by Tom Wakayama

Guest Blogger: Penny Patch
Lyndonville, Vermont

“In 1962 I was a young white woman working as an organizer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in Southwest Georgia. A brilliant young man named Charles Sherrod was our project director, my teacher and mentor. And during those years I also met and worked with many audacious local young people who, with their families, became the backbone of the Albany Movement in Southwest Georgia.

Two of these young women were Patricia Ann Gaines and Margaret Sanders, at the time age 15 and 16 respectively. Their families sheltered me and other civil rights workers at great risk to themselves. Their entire families participated in the Movement, including two year old Peaches Gaines who went to jail with her mother and sisters Pat, Shirley, and Marian. I remember Marian Gaines at age 11 leading a march into the police lines singing “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Round.” Mr. Gaines, their Dad, was known on occasion to sit outside the mass meeting with other men, shotguns across their laps, protecting the mass meeting. And Margaret’s sisters Mary, Jean, and Sharon Sanders accompanied her on her path to becoming a student leader in the Albany Movement.

I am naming names because these young women —whose names are not as well known as they should be—were citizens of Albany. One thing to know about each and every one is that they took risks, all the time. So one day Margaret and Pat strolled into the Dougherty County Courthouse, walked over to the two water fountains in the main hall, and took down the “colored” sign which hung over the small water fountain positioned next to the much larger water fountain which was labelled as “white.” These are the same water fountains, with signs in place, that you see in Danny Lyon’s iconic photo posted here.


Photo by Danny Lyon, from his book: Memories if the Southern Civil Rights

Pat and Margaret lifted the sign, walked out of the building and escaped back into the black community before anybody noticed it was gone. How did they do this? I have no idea. And Pat, whenever I ask her, says her memory is kind of vague about the whole episode. (We agree that this is probably due to stress related memory loss). Some time later, as I was leaving Albany to work in Mississippi, Pat and Margaret presented me with the sign and the story of their exploit. I took that sign with me on many occasions for many years whenever I talked to students about the Black Freedom Movement. But then the Albany Civil Rights Institute opened and it was time to place it where it belonged, in that museum in its home town. You all can visit this wonderful small museum and see the sign on display, with Pat and Margaret’s inscription on the back of it.

Pat Gaines with Charels Sherrod, 2011 Albany, GA

Pat Gaines with Charels Sherrod, 2011 Albany, GA


Note from Anita: I met Penny in May 2011 when I traveled back home to Albany, GA for the 5oth Anniversary of the SNCC movement. She has been following the blog since the early days and graciously providing insight and details for my novel. In an email recently she recounted the story above then agreed to share with my readers.


Me with Penny and granddaughter in Hyper Gym, Albany State University, May 2011


L-R: Annette Jones, Penny, Charles Neblett. Hyper Gym, ASU. May 2011


















Please Sign Petition to Support the 15 Leesburg Stockade Women’s Nomination for Presidential Medal of Freedom

Screen shot 2016-07-26 at 11.46.00 AM

Summer, 1963 ~ Photo by Danny Lyon from his book: Memories of the Southern Civil Rights Movement  ©1992

From a petition started by Brittany Dawson  ~

On July 15, 1963 fifteen outstanding and brave adolescent girls took a stand for their rights and were imprisoned for it, enduring terrible conditions and circumstances while confined within an abandoned Civil War stockade – a large holding cell that contained a broken shower head and a broken toilet – located deep in the backwoods of Leesburg, Georgia. The women, then ages 12-15, ended up in the stockade after their participation in a 200-strong peaceful march from Friendship Baptist Church to the Martin Theater in Americus, GA to purchase tickets at the theater’s white entrance in protest of its segregation practices. While in custody, the girls were deprived of clean water, adequate food, proper hygiene, and contact with their families for two months.

Awarding this honor will send a powerful message about our nation’s fight for equality and justice that continues to this day. It will bring awareness to the younger generation and provide insight to the struggles these young women had to endure in order to receive the basic privileges we take for granted today.

A letter requesting nomination for the Presidential Medal of Freedom was sent to President Barack Obama on April 26, 2016 by Congressman Sanford Bishop, Congressman John Lewis, & Congressman Hank Johnson. Please support!

2016 Presidential Honor of Freedom Recommendation Letter

Follow this link to sign petition and PASS ON TO YOUR SOCIAL NETWORKS.





President Obama: “What could more American than this?” [Bloody Sunday]

AP Photo:Butch Dill

50 years after Bloody Sunday: 2015. AP Photo/Butch Dill

Last night I read from John Garner’s The Art of Fiction about the theory of the “fictional dream”—a notion that the writer makes us “see” the story by giving us images that appeal to all our senses, eliciting emotion. I thought of this as I watched President Obama’s electrifying speech delivered this past Saturday in Selma Alabama on the banks of the Alabama River to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday.

On March 7, 1965 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., along with now Congressman John Lewis, lead 600 blacks in a march across the Edmund Pettus bridge in Slema. This march was sparked by the police killing of unarmed, 27-year old civil rights activist, Jimmy Lee Jackson and to protested the tenacious, inhumane obstacles sanctioned by our US government to keep blacks from voting 100 years after the Civil War. The protest ended with mounted police brutally attacking the peaceful marchers with bullwhips, billy clubs and tear gas.

President Obama’s speech at the site of this bloodshed was like a masterfully crafted sentence; the kind we writers aim for, structured so that readers go back and read it again and again just to savor and learn from it. As I listened I wanted to rewind his words; they appealed to all my senses and pulled me—as always—into his dream for America. He does this so well, this thing that a good sentence does: evokes the past, holds the present and propels us into the future—where there is still much work to be done. Much work indeed:

Selma, The Film

Screen shot 2015-01-19 at 2.56.01 PM

I saw the movie and love it and I’m thrilled that a black woman, Ava DuVernay, directed. This is the story of  a seminal moment in American history: the 1965 Selma to Montgomery, Alabama marches for the rights of blacks to vote. It was a horrific time in the story of our nation. This film gets a lot of things right: the portrayal of the racially charged era, which is itself a character; the rendering of the place and the portrait of the iconic man. This last one is tricky because King the IDEA lives so strongly in the hearts of so many. David Oyelowo, [pronounced o-yellow-o] gives a stirring performance as King.

Screen shot 2015-01-19 at 2.44.30 PM

Guest Blogger Dennis Roberts—Oakland, CA Attorney at Law—reflects on the film, Selma and his days as a young attorney working in Southwest Georgia during the 1960s Civil Rights Movement.

Read more…

“The Whitewashing of James Brown”


In the 60s James made being Black a badge of honor with
the mega hit song: “Say It Loud (I’m Black and I’m Proud)”.
So how can it be there’s not a single black person helping to
tell his story in the new film Get On Up? Read more…

The March ~ Film narrated by Denzel Washington

I hope you found profound ways to mark today—being the 50th Anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington. In deciding how to celebrate on my blog, the answer came tonight after finding this film on the PBS website:

The vital story of the 1963 March on Washington where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his “I Have A Dream” speech, skillfully told:

Executive Producer: Robert Redford
Narrated by: Denzel Washington

Expires on September 10, 2013:

Screen shot 2013-08-28 at 8.22.35 PM

%d bloggers like this: