Edward Spannaus

COFO, SNCC, Mississippi, 1964-65
Current Residence: Lovettsville, VA
Email: edspannaus@verizon.net


My first contact with SNCC and the Movement came on a one-week trip to Greenwood, Mississippi in the Spring of 1964, with a group of students from the University of Iowa. We were involved in voter registration; there were demonstrations at the LeFlore County courthouse, and we went to a mass meeting in Itta Bena and spoke there.

When I returned to Iowa I began recruiting students for the Summer Project, although I did not think I could go myself, for financial reasons. After the disappearance of Cheney-Goodman-Schwerner, I felt I had to go, and my parents arranged a sponsorship from a church human relations group, which enabled me to come to Mississippi in late July. I went through about two days of training at COFO headquarters in Jackson, and then I was assigned to Moss Point, on the Gulf Coast near Pascagoula.

There was a COFO office in Moss Point, and a small group of workers there, and we met regularly with the larger group in Pascagoula and possibly Biloxi also. I feel terrible that I don't remember everyone's names, but Robert Smith, from Mississippi, and "Mickey" from Kentucky were two. The headlines of the local paper when we arrived referred to us as "Race Mixers." In Moss Point, I worked primarily on voter registration, attemping to systematically make sure we canvassed as much of the black neighborhoods as we could. I also was engaged in what we called the "federal works project," investigating discrimination on federal contract work at the Ingalls Shipyard, and trying to get Attorney General Robert Kennedy to do something about it.

Once I was there, I wanted to stay after the summer, but the draft and Vietnam loomed large,so I went back to Iowa in mid-September, where I turned the local civil rights group into a Friends of SNCC chapter. We did support work and raised money which I sent to Atlanta, particularly around "Bloody Sunday" in Selma. (Although I didn't know her at the time, I have had the honor in recent years of being a friend of Amelia Boynton Robinson, with whom I am associated in in the Schiller Institute.)

In December 1964, I and others in Iowa organized our first demonstration against the war in Vietnam, which we held in a snowstorm at the federal Post Office in DesMoines, Iowa.

In the summer of 1965, I worked part-time with SNCC in Chicago, and spent many evenings at the ongoing, 24-hour a day vigil outside the Chicago Board of Education. I probably sang more there, than at anytime in my life.

I then went to New York, to graduate school at Columbia University, while spending time with SDS, PL, etc. During my second year there, I worked with Local 1199 of the Hospital Workers Union organizing tenants in the South Bronx.

In the fall of 1966, I met Lyndon LaRouche (then known as Lyn Marcus), when a friend took me to his economics class at the Free University of New York. What LaRouche was saying about the need for an economic program as the basis for all social progress made complete sense to me, and I began working with him, which I have continued to do ever since, full-time starting in 1974.

In the early-to-mid 1980s, the FBI and Justice Department, at the instigation of henry Kissinger and others, launched a series of frame=up prosecutions against us. I spent almost three years in federal prison in 1989-91, while LaRouche was imprisoned for five years.

I continue to work with the LaRouche movement. I serve as the Law Editor of Executive Intelligence Review, where I cover justice and national security matters. Many of my articles can be found on the EIR website at LaRouchePub.com.

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