Your Thoughts — 2008

This site is lovely... It made me so proud, but yet so sad. We owe so very much to these true freedom fighters. It's beautiful. thank you sincerely.

 —  J.M. Williams, Washington, DC, 12/18/2008

Congratulation for your site, it is very interesting and full of information.

i am a student at the university of ouagadougou (burkina faso in west africa. i am studying african american history. my final thesis topic is "gender discrimination inside the civil rights movement". i want to focus on the way black men behaved towards blacks women. i need all information i can get about this topic.

thanks in advance for answering me.

my email address:

 —  Raissa Windiga, Ouagadougou, BURKINA FASO, 11/15/2008

Dear Civil Rights Veterans,

I wanted to enroll your assistance in petitioning President elect Barack Obama to invite to this historic inauguration Amanda Jones of Bastrop County, Texas. Amanda Jones is 109 and the daughter of a Texas slave. She has voted every election since FDR and has fought to have her vote counted.

Please help me in getting this amazing woman invited to the inauguration of the first black president of the United States. As of inauguration day, she will be 110.

P.S. No, this is not the woman Senator Obama mentioned in his acceptance speech on election day. That was Ann Nixon Cooper of Atlanta. ;)

Thank you for your time,

Mike Calahan
Los Gatos, CA Petition

 —  Mike Calahan, Los Gatos, CA, 11-13-08

The Civil Rights Movement was one of the greatest movements in American history. I often wish that I could have been alive to be a part of it. But even in this day and age the fight has yet to be won. Poverty and inequality are still a reality for man Americans, and even more people all around the globe. I, and those like me, will fight for what is just and right. And we will always be inspired by your actions, the actions of the great men and women who worked to end segregation in America. Thank you.

 —  Ben Cardwell, Snellville, Georgia, 10-9-08

Dear Kyizom,

There can be nothing holy about a man — Dalai Lama — who accepted money for years from the blood-thirsty CIA, who helped the CIA train exiled Tibetans in warfare, who just accepted the United States Congressional Medal of Honor(sic) and embraced the world's number one terrorist, George Bush. That's not love and non-violent behavior.

Ron Ridenour, former SNCC activist in Moss Point, Mississippi (1964) and Los Angeles.

 —  Ron Ridenour, Denmark, 9-5-08

Your civil-rights movement's courage and determination inspire us to follow the path of nonviolence from your actions along with His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teaching of nonviolence base on unlimited compassion and interdependent nature of phenomena.

Your wealth of information helps me in understand the strategy and tactics of alternative nonviolence method.

Tomorrow 30-8-09, all the Tibetans around the globe will be on hunger fast and prayers from 7am to 7pm to express our solidarity for Tibetans in Tibet for having been under systematic fear and repression by the Chinese Communist party. This is our symbolic act of defiance to CCP representing both repressed Tibetan and Chinese.

 —  lhakyizom, A Tibetan
kyizom, Dharamsala, Exile home for Tibetans , 29-8-08

Great website, I've been on it about five minutes. I am learning to write lesson plans and I am grateful to have this great resource. Thanks

 —  Wendy S. Goff, Atlanta, Georgia, 7-23-2008

It's both inspiring and delightful to go through your web site. It brings back so many memories. I was in Canton, Mississippi for 5 weeks in 1964 — arriving there on June 22. It was a life-changing exerpience for me.

I returned to Mississippi this summer for a memorial service on June 21st for James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner. It was a terribly important moment for me and brought me some closure to the years of grief I've felt because of that horrible incident.

I was on the final day's march in Montgomery, Alabama in 1965 and that was equally inspiring.

I spent a good part of the summer of 1967 on the west side of Chicago — not the south, but one of the battlegrounds of the Dr. King's civil rights work.

In addition, I spent three years, 1966 through 1969, working on the southside of Minneapolis in one of the city's two black communities. They were inspiring and educational years for me, a middle-class white person, also.

I would like to add my name to those who support your work.

 —  Charles H. Leck, Maple Plain, Minnesota, July 4, 2008

As a young person I was horrified at the images of violence against our own citizens in the south. During class one day, I asked my teacher if he (a Native American) would help me write a letter to the president. He asked what I wanted to say to him. I let my teacher know of the horrors I'd seen on TV...and said someone needs to tell the president. Imagine my utter shock when he told me the president was aware of what was taking place. This wonderful teacher helped me write the letter. A couple days later he asked if I would use the knowledge of what I'd seen on TV as a "Show & Tell" for my class. My answer, was an immediate, YES! Jump ahead numerous years...

The summer prior to me beginning college, I went to Mississippi. There is no way, in a few short sentences I could describe all that I'd witnessed and had taken part. After college, I went back to Mississippi. This was several years AFTER the Civil Rights Bill had been passed.

However, the KKK was still soliciting for funds (while dressed in their robes & hoods) for their "cause" when people would be stopped at red lights. They would come right up to the car window and ask for money.

On several of these occasions, I had my friends in the car with me (African Americans). Needless to say, I was fully involved in doing what I could to alert others to this outrageous breech of law. Did anyone listen? Yes...but it was the opposition. It was as if a "bulls-eye" was placed on my back. I'm sure you can use your imagination to know some of what took place.

This had a profound impact upon my life. It is ultimately what led me to my career choice. I'm often asked "Are you satisfied with the positive changes that have been made?"

Each time I'm asked this question, my mind begins to race. Yes, there have been amazing positive changes. However, there is, yet, so very much more to be done. The ones that tell me "We don't have issues with race, here in the USA"...have, obviously, never had to deal with it. Or they choose to keep their eyes blinded by the obvious.

I should say that I spent time in several other southern states, but, it was my time in Mississippi that changed my life. One thing I came to realize as a profound truth is this: Every life, touches every other life!

My career was in service to others, primarily outside the a Humanitarian Aid Relief Coordinator.

Best Regards,

 —  michelle2005, United States, 06-28-08

So here I am running across an article in a magazine about a book called "Breach of Peace," a testament to the Freedom Riders, wondering why is it I have never been able to actively be a part of civil rights today? I've been to the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis several times, where evryone on the planet should go and learn from this exhibit. I have just finished sending an email to one of the original Freedom Riders mentioned in the article who amazingly teaches at a unversity near by, to see if he has any ongoing Civil Rights groups in need of volunteers or whatever. Perhaps finally with history being made here in the U.S, more people will realize the importance of humanity towards each other and remember and or learn of what civil rights activists did for this country, leading to the history being made today. I am in awe of such human beings.

 —  Beatriz, Sta Monica Ca, 6-19-08

I am a student at a California State university, taking a Black Drama course that emphasizes the art being a reflection of society and its politics. I was exploring the concept of non violent protest strategies of the 1950's and 1960's, and discovered this site by accident. I was so impressed, I forwarded the link to my professor, who has told me she will be sharing this site with her future students. Thank you for an enlightening and comprehensive body of work.

 —  Beverly, Santa Maria, CA, 06-14-2008

Re: The Voting Literacy Test

I just wanted to thank whoever took the time to post this information on the Internet. Although not an "activist" of any kind, I am a white American male, a 100% service-connected disabled veteran, a born again REAL Christian (not just in name alone!) and a very angry man that things like this was never taught to me in any of my public school classes. Some of my friends get upset at me when I harp on "Get out and vote." I try to explain this is a privilege, not a hard task. Although I am just as much against blacks that commit crimes or are unpatriotic, I am also angry at the white people around me that does the same............................ and gets by with it. But when we all stand before God, HE will be color blind. Again, thank you to whomever posted this article. God Bless you and God Bless America.

 —  Don

I'm a high school history teacher, and I am fascinated by this site. It's so rich and complex — and I'm struggling with how to introduce my students to all you have to offer. It would be helpful if some of your schoolteacher veterans could post some lesson plans for how YOU would like to see us teach this info.

I have chosen some articles I think they will find interesting, and have offered them the option of looking into the timeline ("choose an event that has a link and a story attached to it..."). They'll summarize what they read, and hopefully this will lead to a substantial class discussion.

Thank you all — for your work bringing justice to our country, and for your work teaching us how hard it was to do. Any suggestions you have for helping us bring this to the next generation would be appreciated.

 —  Alison K, Chatham MA, 05-28-08

[Send your email address to and we'll see if anyone has any thoughts on how to use the site as a teaching tool. And thanks for your kind words.]

Dear Civil Rights Activists,
first of all congratulations for this website, it is very interesting and.....usefull for my studies! I am doing a final thesis on the Civil Rights Movement but I am focusing especially on the influence of the movement on Obama's politics. I would like to ask just 3 or 4 qustions which will be very important for my analysis....someone can help me?!
thank you, Alberto

 —  alberto (, Florence, Italy, 6/12/2008

I just stumbled upon your fantastic website this morning when I researching the slogan "one man, one vote." What a great website.

There has been one image that has intrigued me for several years and it is included in your website as one of the images in the section, "Young People Led the Way." It is the image of the young man on the march to Selma who is has white chalk, paint, make-up on his face with the word "VOTE" on his forehead. It was taken by Bruce Davidson. I own a poster in which an enlarged close-up of this image is used. It is from 1972 and was produced by the organization, The Student Vote, obviously used at that time in an effort to get young people out to vote.

I have a few questions regarding the young man in the photo.

First of all, does anyone know who this young man is? Second of all, is he still alive?

[Unfortunately we don't know his name. There were a number of marchers on that day who used sunscreen in that way to express why they were marching. He was probably one of the contingent from Selma or Marion, but we don't know for certain.]

Lastly, I have always thought it was extremely powerful because I believed it was an intentional twist of whites use of "black face" in performing minstrels around the turn of the century (1900s). To me, the young man is saying if he was white he could vote. This highlighted the injustice of denying African Americans the right to vote and mocked the "white" voting system.

Is this interpretation at all correct?!? Do you know anyone who might have the answer to this question? I have previously tried to track down Bruce Davidson, the photographer without any success. I do know Mr. Davidson is still alive. Any help you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

[It's certainly a valid interpretation of the symbolism, but whether the marchers who used sunscreen that way to promote voting rights where taking all that into consideration, I can't say.]


 —  John Olsen, Ankeny, IA, April 20, 2008

It is a shame that our black sisters have not beem given their just due for their actions during the 60's movement. White history has not been kind to blacks in america, but I do not understand why leading blacks have allowed lies to be told about the civil rights movement in favor of the black status-quo. Why is it that Parks got the credit rather than Colvin? Also I am insulted when my civil rights leader, Gloria Richardson Dandridge is not mentioned in the annals to the degree of MLK or anyone else. Black men in America for hundreds of years, have been complaining about the white man's racist actions and rightfully so, but I wonder why we black men have oppressed the real warriors of the movement "black women" in a sexist way as it pertains to who really led the way during the movement. Shame on you so called black leaders, and stop allowing our black kid to be taught lies about black history.

 —  Larry L. Chester, Cambridge, Md., April 15, 2008

[For those not familiar with Gloria Richardson and the Cambridge Movement, see the History & Timeline 1962-1964.]

I watched a movie once about a white woman who died fighting the cause. I would like to know how many white people have died for the civil rights movement?

 —  Jackey, Palm Bay FL, 03/19/2008

[We know for sure that at least seven whites were killed for participating in the Freedom Movement: William Moore, Rev. Bruce Klunder, Mickey Schwerner, Andrew Goodman, Rev. James Reeb, Viola Luizzo, and Johnathan Daniels. It is possible that there were others, but direct links between their deaths and the Movement have not been established. We do know that Paul Guihard, a white reporter from France, was killed while covering the Klan organized riot in Oxford MS after James Meredith was admitted as a student, and a second white man was killed that same night under mysterious circumstances. It is possible that there were other whites murdered at other places and times that we don't know about.]

I am doing a study on the Civil Rights Movement, I am interested personal recollections from individual on their experiences in the Civil Rights Movement in relation to their gender and socio-economic status. How their gender and socio-economic status impacted their experiences in the Civil Rights Movement. What types of discrimination were experienced as a result and how did that individual cope or survive in the midst? I'm trying to get a feel of the setting: what age, education, type of work, marital status, and family relations did that individual have at the time of the movement. ANY response would be greatly appreciated.

 —  Denese, US, 02-26-08

[Denese, you did not include any email or other contact info, so we cannot respond to you directly. However, we suggest that you contact Movement veterans listed on the Speakers List, and that you look over the interviews and narratives in the Our Stories section.]

i think this site is really interesting, but it would be better if there was less violance!!!!!

 —  me, el paso. texas, 2-25-08

I was really shock when I was reading you book and saw some of the pictures. I want to know where I can buy the book to have to show my Grandbaby when she is older.

 —  Catherine Matthews-Perkins, Fort Myers, Fla. 33905, 02-13-2008

[We're not sure what book you're referring to. There are a number of good photo books about the freedom struggle. Among them are:
Civil Rights Chronicle
Civil Rights Movement: A Photographic History 1954-68
Faces of Freedom Summer
Powerful Days

Hello, I just started to see the website and it is really good website. It reminded the event which is just took place on October last year in India, "the Janadesh". Have you ever heard? It is about people's verdict and non-violence movement. I know a documentary about this movement if you would like to see:


 —  Pachinee Buathong, France, 05/02/2008

first and for most my last name is real it is just reallylong....anyway i love this site it helped me get an awesome grade on my paper thanks!!!!

 —  sarah creploreytopackiseeltoroussety, new york, 2/1/08

The best website I've seen yet documenting the Civil Rights Movement. A little brother to movement leaders... ages 7 to 15 during the height of the movement... provided vivid memories of the period of time. Plan on sharing this with my students this year!

 —  Donald Parker, New Orleans, LA, 01/23/2008