Harriet Terry Tanzman

CORE, SNCC, SCLC, 1963-68, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee
Current Residence:
909 N. Congress St. #2
Jackson, MS 39202
Email: hterrytanz@yahoo.com

Thank you for the website. I became active as a U. of Wisconsin student in Madison CORE with Silas Norman and a group of community people in 1963-1964.

When JFK was assassinated, I went to Atlanta and worked in SNCC's national office, joining the sit-ins reactivated by SNCC field workers when Odinga Oginga came to town. Since new white organizers weren't being sent to communities due to horrendous violence against local people and organizers, I returned to school and CORE work in South Madison, for Spring semester.

I went south to work in Mississippi the summer of '64 in Holly Springs. Recruited by Diane Nash and James Bevel, I then worked as an SCLC field organizer under a great mentor, Bene Luchion, in Gadsden, AL.

In Jan. 1965, when SCLC committed to AL, field workers went to Selma, where I stayed, and then through May 1965, organizing during the Selma Wars. I focused on being one "advisor" to the very active SNCC-organized youth group and setting up and coordinating Citizenship Education, and voter registration. Some of us were honored as "invisible giants" last month in Selma, 40 years later. Actually, it was the local people who taught us all; we were lucky to learn from them.

It took me 30 years to return to Selma though I've visited Holmes County and elsewhere in MS nearly every year since 1966. Very different movements which one day I'll write about.

I happily returned to the (increasingly) local people-led movement in MS in June 1965 and stayed through December 1966 in Cleveland, briefly in Rolling Fork, and in Holmes County, to which I've continued close ties since my year there in '66.

In 1968, I worked at Highlander setting up the audio tape archive. It was a relief to return south, and I always knew that I would for a long period or for good later in life, and I have, recently done so.

The movement changed my life and shaped me into a lifelong social justice and anti-war activist during the Vietnam War and the Iraq and other wars, primarily in California and NY, where I grew up. I've worked in progressive, alternative media over 15 years since the '70s at S.F. Newsreel (documentary) Films, the Guardian, and at WBAI-Pacifica radio, where I've put local peoples' and organizers stories on the air for 7 years. I returned to MS lock, stock and barrel April 2004 and am producing a traveling MS historical exhibit, symposium, cultural performance and workshops based on mid-60s MS history, particularly of MFDP, MFLU,school struggles and cooperative organizing. Contact me if you want more info.


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