Posts tagged ‘SNCC’

“We Shall Not Be Moved” ~ March On Washington 1963

America has been here before.

Watch this video of the Freedom Singers that preeminent day 53 years ago.

The Freedom Singers began in Albany, Georgia in 1962 during the Civil Rights Movement. From L-R: Charles Neblett (bass), Bernice Johnshon Reagon (alto) Cordell Reagon (tenor), unknown and Rutha Harris (soprano). This performance was at The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, Tuesday, August 28, 1963.

We shall not, we shall not be moved
Just like a tree planted by the water,
We shall not be moved.

May 27, 2014 ~ After North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis refuses to meet with North Carolinians, a sit-in turns into a church service lead by Rev.William J. Barber, President of the NC NAACP:

Other versions of the song: http://civilrightssongs.blogspot.com/2015/02/we-shall-not-be-moved-lyrics-videos-and.html

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Freedom Riders at the March on Washington, 1963

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Civil rights organizer Karen House at ’63 March.

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Paul Newman at ’63 March

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Marchers cool their feet in the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, ’63 March on Washington

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March on Washington for Jobs & Freedom: 8.28.63

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The Day the “Colored Sign” Walked Out

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

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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.

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Photo by Danny Lyon, from his book: Memories if the Southern Civil Rights Movementwww.dektol.wordpress.com

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.

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

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

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

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

From a change.org 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.

https://www.change.org/p/president-of-the-united-states-help-the-15-leesburg-stockade-women-receive-the-presidential-medal-of-freedom?recruiter=577295570&utm_source=share_for_starters&utm_medium=copyLink

 

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Selma, The Film

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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.

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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 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 MARCH
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
54:41

Expires on September 10, 2013:

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http://video.pbs.org/video/2365069476/

Three Heroes—with more on Emmett Till

133 people visited the blog yesterday! A recent high, topped by 296 the day I launched six months ago. I’m psyched! Thanks to all who came,  read, hopped around the site and commented.

L-R: Dennis Roberts, Charles Jones, me and Peter de Lissovoy at BBQ hosted by Chevene King, Jr. in Albany, GA. June 2011

It’s 5:30 am Saturday and I spent a restless night thinking about Emmett and Trayvon and their families, finally pushed from the bed by these words and the picture above taken last June in Albany when I met these three heroes of the Southwest Georgia SNCC Civil Rights Movement at the 50th Anniversary. Read more…

Charlotta Janssen ~ “So Abstract she’s concrete”

~ Anita’s Journal Entry

June 1, 2011
Albany, GA

:Researching novel at 50th Anniversary of
the Southwest Georgia  SNCC Movement 

Tonight after a long day of speeches and panels, a bunch of us left Albany State University’s Hyper Gym for an after party in the lobby of the Hilton Garden Inn on the banks of the Flint River at the foot of the new bridge. Met a German-American artist named Charlotta Janssen. She lives in Brooklyn but was born in Maine to German parents living in America under the Marshall plan. From street musician to painter, her art has taken her around the globe. Read more…

Growing up on Hazard Drive

View from porch of 325 Hazard Drive: Background ~ Gibson Hall, Albany State College Circa 1960

Our house was #325 Hazard Drive, one door down from Hazard Laboratory School in Albany, Georgia. During the late 50s and into the 60s when I was growing up there, Hazard Drive was a dichotomous slice of black life, one of the east side communities closest to the Flint River. On the north end of the street both sides were lined with wooden houses, mostly rentals, where working folk raised their families, rented rooms to the college students and mostly kept their noses out of the business of struggling for racial justice. On the south end of the street stood Albany State College (ASC), a future lightening rod for the Albany Civil Rights Movement—where internal unrest was already brewing as students members of the NAACP Youth Council stood up against authorities and racism, demanding changes that were not being met by local law enforcement nor the ASC administration.

Enter Charles Sherrod and Cordell Reagon and Charles Jones; at the time all twenty-something field secretaries for the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, or SNCC (pronounced “snick”), a one-year old civil rights organization established on the Shaw University Campus in Raleigh, North Carolina; born out of student-led lunch counter sit-ins. Using youth-led, nonviolent, direct-action tactics, SNCC focused heavily on voter registration, having chosen to work in southwest Georgia because the need was great based on the large numbers of disfranchised blacks not exercising their right to vote. Seems only natural for SNCC to join forces and further mobilize ASC student energy to help accomplish their shared goals, for SNCC knew that the only way to achieve racial equality was to get black voices heard through the polls.

As all of this progressed outside our home, within the government grey walls of 325 Hazard, the Joneses mirrored the polarity of the greater community in our own way. My late sister, Dr. Betty Jean Jones, turned twelve on December 11, 1961. She very much wanted to work in the Movement. I, on the other hand—being only seven—had no clue because our parents sheltered us from the struggle.

That fall I was blissfully starting second grade in Mrs. Pearl Sanders class at Hazard, while Betty, taking the bus to Carver Jr. High across town, wanted to participate in the marches, sit-ins and non-violent protests; to go to jail with others who put their lives on the line. Our parents forbade it. Unlike many other black tweens and teens who joined the Movement, Betty was not one to defy her parents, even though she harbored regrets. How I wish I could talk to her about that now. Betty passed away in January, 1997 in a plane crash at the age of 47.  Would that I could find out what motivated her to want to work in the Movement, and how she processed Silas and Irene Jones’ dominion over her fledgling activism.

When I went back home this past June for the 50th Anniversary of the Albany Movement, I met face-to-face with many who worked in the Movement, and heard first hand many stories of courage and diligence. This left me feeling troubled that my parents chose not to involve our family in that important American event. Later, I shared this with Charles Jones ( no direct relations) and he said, “Sister Jones, they were sheltering you, they wanted to ensure that you would make it to this moment.”  Thanks, Brother Charles, for that insight. I see clearly now that my family’s work is in this story, waiting to go out into the world. This is our contribution.

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