In the spring of 1965, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. sent letters to many American colleges, including Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, IN, proposing a summer of literacy and voter registration. The recipient of the letter, President of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, Sister Marie Perpetua, invited students and faculty to participate. The factually who volunteered included Sister Alma Louise Melcher, Sister of Providence, and Sister Mary Jean Marks, Sister of Providence. The students who volunteered included: Marguerite (Meg) Baum, Juanita Maldanado, Midge Maroni, Susan Sperry. Two students from Indiana State University, who learned of Dr.King's invitation though Sr. Mary Jean's Ecumenical program,became part of the group, Robert Mullins and Barbara ______.
The group received training at Indiana University's adult literacy program and other workshops. The group also received financial support from diverse parts of the Terre Haute, IN community.
They attended a week's orientation by SCLC in Atlanta in early June, and then traveled to their assigned site, Albany, GA. The group established a freedom school for adult literacy as well as for school aged children (k-12). Some of them became active in voter registration, and in early Aug. Meg, Midge and Suzy traveled to Americus GA the weekend before the Aug. 6 Civil Rights Voting Act was passed by Congress. That weekend was marked by a large rally and march in Americus with the Klan simultaneously gathering for a march in another part to the city. I believe the large presence of news organizations plus the city's separation of the two groups keep the violence in check that day.
Copyright © Midge Maroni, 2015