Interview: Cambridge MD & Southwest GA
I grew up in a biracial (Jewish/African American) household in Greenwich Village in the 1950s. In high school, I worked with the National Council of Christians and Jews (as did SNCC activists Peg and Hank Dammond, Ivanhoe Donaldson, Sherron Jackson [now Amina Rachman], Don Harris and "Dr. Bob" Johnson [son of Mordecai Johnson]). In the summer of 1961, I met Chuck McDew, Diane Nash, Charles Jones, Charles Sherrod, and others, some of whom spoke at NCCJ events.
In December 1961, Peg Dammond, Angeline Butler, and I from NYC, joined Reggie Robinson, Bill Hanson, Diane Ostrofsky, and others from Baltimore CIG to sit-in in the hometown of Maryland's Gov Tawes ("No room at the Inn"), Chrisfield on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay. We were arrested and spent a week or so in jail. Within a few months, the Cambridge movement was in full voice. This movement sprang from a local tradition of activism and resistance and was subsequently helped and fostered by SNCC'S involvement. Reggie and Bill were assigned to Cambridge as field secretaries with the great and underappreciated leader Gloria Richardson. SNCC people involved at a later time included Stokely Carmichael, Rap Brown, Judy Richardson, John Wilson. Cambridge, after 18 months of ouccupation by federal troops, became a watch word for resistance.
In the autumn of 1962 when I was 19 years old, following the burning of four local black churches which had opened their door to the voter registration movement, I went south to Albany, GA, where I lived and worked for almost a year. I left in mid August 1963, sick with hepatitis which I'd caught in the Albany city jail and watched the March on Washington on television.
I returned to my sophomore year of college in NYC, but worked in the NYC SNCC office the summers of 1964 and 1965.
Much of my story appears in, among other places, Debra Schultz' book Going South: Jewish Women in the Civil Rights Movement.
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