In the summer of 1964, I went door to door in Clarksdale, Mississippi for a month trying to convince African-American residents to register to vote. At that time, state law required that they go to the county courthouse and register. There the county clerk would ask them what were the duties and obligations of a citizen under a republican form of government. Their name had to be published in the local newspaper (twice) for two weeks. Facing this kind of intimidation, our success was not measured in numbers but in the blatant resistance of the power structure to even the most basic of civil rights. I came back to the west and then north to school and maintained an intellectual and academic interest in issues of race, ethnicity, and justice, and I have done some volunteer work in various minority communities (including prisons) but never again reached the level of commitment as that summer.
Copyright © 2005
Last Modified: November 19, 2005.