Maria Gitin (Joyce Brians)

Alabama, SNCC, SCLC, SCOPE, 1965
P.O. Box 216
Capitola, CA 95010
Phone: 831.708.2560
Web Sites:
     Thislittlelight1965's Blog

Letter From Movement Boot Camp
Letter From Wilcox County, Alabama
Stories From Wilcox County, Alabama

I was an 18 year old Freshman at San Francisco State College when Dr. King came on television after the Selma Marcha and said fewer blacks would die if we came down to register voters and brought media and FBI attention with us. I volunteered and a few weeks later found myself at an intensive orientation session in Atlanta GA featuring speakers and trainers ranging from Rev. Hosea Williams who directed the Summer Conference on Political Education Project (SCOPE) for SCLC, to Michael Harrington, author of The Other America, to Golden Frinks, a dyed-in-the-wool movement worker. This seems to be an almost "forgotten summer" which no one to my knowledge, has written much about, except for a newly self published book by Willie Levanthal.

Andrew Young, who had direct staff responsibility for the project, wrote of it briefly in his book, as a difficult and not altogether successful project. Many of us who worked on that project found it to be life changing, both for ourselves and for the 6,000 plus voters that were registered that summer. While taking care not to overstate the importance of integrated student teams conducting voter registration, I believe that summer offers a model that our currently divided campuses and communities could benefit from. For this reason, I am interested in communicating with others who were in SCOPE and SNCC students who did cooperate with and in fact lead the project in my county, Wilcox, AL.

In my 1996 reunion with Rev Benet Luchion who was an SCLC staffer, he confirmed that the SCOPE 1995 Voter education and registration project was one of the rare times when SCLC, the new leadership of SNCC, and local Black groups agreed on program and organizing strategy. Apprarantly leadership disagreements among the adults is the primary reason this chapter of history is largely skipped over. It should not be. Not only should all of us who risked our lives be included in the ranks of those who served but we can offer a model for whites today to use our privilege to continue fighting for rights for communities of color which are in fact our rights. None of us are free until all of us are free.

Blessings and Greetings to all who still carry on in the spirit of Dr. King. I hope to hear from you

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