Poems of Zellie Rainey Orr
THANK-YOU and all Civil Rights Veterans who sacrificed your time, impacting the quality of life for Mississippians. Although, the '64 Freedom Summer Movement focus was on registering blacks to vote, I am ETERNALLY grateful Freedom Schools were a part of the project.
I was thirteen the Summer of 1964 when the first contingent of civil rights workers — Gretchen Schwarz and Charles Scattergood (both white) and John Harris (a Negro) moved into our Indianola community. They moved into the "host home" of Mrs. Irene Magruder who lived two houses down from me on Byas Street. Thus it was the courageous Mrs. Magruder who turned the community into a sort of "underground railroad". This time, blacks that provided the influx of transients, primarily white, food and lodging.
Although I was afraid, I participated in some of the demonstrations and marches. However, it was attending the Indianola Freedom School where I was first introduced to books written by blacks, that significantly changed my life. As far back as I can remember, since around fourth grade, I loved to write!!! I now know, it was an innate gift I was destined to use
Thus, it was no less divine providence my, and Georgiana Kaminsky's, paths crossed. She was one of the white teachers at the Freedom School. Having read some of my poetry, she was the first ever to congratulate me...and encourage me to write. That spark gave rise to my career today as a freelance, published, award-winning poet, writer and researcher.
I am forever indebted to the Mississippi Freedom Summer Movement for enlightening me to my gift, and for invoking within me the courage to persist.
To God be the praise!