SNCC, SIM, and the Southwest Georgia Project
I worked in Cordele, Georgia in 1966 as a part of the Southwest Georgia Project headed by Charles Sherrod. The SNCC staff in Cordele included John Baptiste, his wife Ramona Lockwood, Rev. Fullwood, and some local leaders.
It was a brutal and bloody time. Although our major task was to organize voter registration, we also attempted to desegregate the state facilities (swimming pool and concession stands) at the Veterans Memorial State Park, which was 8 miles from Cordele. Our attempts to integrate the park was met with a lot of violence and hostility. It eventually led to 3 nights and days of gun battles at a major intersection leading to the interstate highway. Whites at two white owned gas stations destroyed two black owned gas stations just by gun fire. 99% of the the shooting was done by whites armed with automatic weapons, hire powered rifles, etc. Some blacks tried to shoot back but were met by volleys of gun fire. The shooting stopped when the Georgia State Troopers finally stepped in — they were there the whole time and only stopped it when the black stations were completely destroyed.
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