Poems of Fatima Cortez
Honoring Our Ancestors, Honoring Ourselves, 2010
Memories of the March
Any Kind of Revolution is About Change
I was in high school when my mother was active with Corretta Scott King in Women's Strike for Peace and then became chair of Northwest NY CORE. I made the bus banners for the Riverdale chapter of CORE for the March on Washington.
When I graduated from high school and the summer of '64 was upon us, I immediately made tracks to the CORE headquarters at 38 Park Row, NYC and signed up. Of course my family protested, but how could they deny my going no matter how young I was since they had taught me to be the activist.
So I showed up at Baton Rouge airport and was picked up by the CORE workers who were training others in Plaquemine, Iberville Parish. The training lasted several weeks and we were then assigned to our areas. I remember now that I was too naive and excited to be afraid of anything.
We got up every morning and went out to the community going door to door to get people to register to vote. We taught them how to fill out the forms, and some we began literacy classes. It was a long hot day walking the dust roads, but we were on a mission to beat Goldwater and that made us oblivious to any hardships. ALso, we didn't live the hardships of the people of Louisiana full time. We were very prviledged. Many people opened their homes and housed and fed us, to their own family risk.
I would later be moved to Jonesboro and later Monroe where I started the newsletter "Freedom News". Now this was the day of a mimeographed, two sided, legal size record of what CORE was doing in Northern and Southern Louisiana. I even ran literacy classes which were called classes in Freedom.
I worked with some remarkable people from all over the country. The people that stand out the most were the people of Louisiana who taught me life lessons and values that I will never forget.