I went to Mississippi during the Freedom Summer of 1964. I have strong roots there, and I was pretty motivated to go see what I could do myself that summer. My grandfather was one of the early Black physicians to work in Mississippi [in Yazoo City]. My dad, also a physician, was born in Mississippi and practiced medicine in, among others, New Orleans, Boston, and Newark, NJ.
In '64, I was SNCC staff for the Mississippi Freedom Summer [meaning that I was on payroll, getting that famous $9.64 a week salary that field secretaries got]. I worked out of Holy Springs with Ivanhoe Donaldson and Cleve Sellers that summer. In the summer of '65, I was in Natchez with George Green. When I graduated from college, I went to work in the New York offices of SNCC [again with Ivanhoe] until it closed, and was around during SNCC's last days. In 1966 and was working in Newark, NJ until I got married, had a son, and went to seminary, in that order, in 1967.
There is a popular photo that appears more than once on the CRMVet website.
The photographer, Steve Schapiro, demanded that we removed the photo
because of his copyright.] It is taken in front of a bus; it pictures a
group of young folks singing "We Shall Overcome" arm in arm. I am the black
guy at the bottom of the photo [not the guy hanging out the window]. I am
pictured with a name tag hanging from my belt. In some pictures you can even
read my name from that tag.
Today, I am a university-based researcher on the Faculty of Public Health at Columbia University. My wife, Mindy Thompson Fullilove, MD, and I are part of a small group of Black academics doing research on the HIV/AIDS pandemic, an issue that raises many of the issues we confronted in 1964.
Copyright © 2005-2007
Last Modified: March 1, 2007.