My testimony is offered in loving tribute to our fallen comrades, James Chaney, Michael Schwerner, and Andrew Goodman.
If someone were to ask me what in my whole life (and I'm now 83) I'm proudest of, I would say, "The two months I worked in Mississippi during the summer of '64."
At 47, I was older than almost all the other volunteers, but I never felt out of placeo I had volunteered with COFO (Council of Federated Organizations) and worked in the Jackson Office, where I helped to put out the legal newsletter, kept the files of volunteers, and did legal secretarial work for Bill Kunstler and the other attorneys.
A few of the many images that remain with me:
I thought that I wasn't affected by this narrow escape, but every time thereafter when I crossed that street, my knees turned to jelly.
Knowing that Freedom Summer was making history, I kept a copy of everything that came off the mimeograph machine. On my return, I gave the material, which filled a few cartons, to the Schomburg Library in Manhattan. Historians now have access to the actual documents issued by the Jackson office.
Back home in Manhattan, I did a little work for SNCC (Elizabeth Sutherland was in the office at that time), some public speaking, some fund-raising. (I remember that at one affair, held in Columbia University, we raised enough money to send a truck down South.) But nothing I did on my return was as substantive or meaningful as my work in Mississippi.
I am proud to be a Veteran of the Civil Rights Movement.
Copyright © 2000-2002
Last Modified: February 24, 2002.