Alan Venable

SCLC/SCOPE, 1965, South Carolina
156 Diamond Street
San Francisco, CA 94114
Phone: 415-412-8294
Web Site:

I was with the Brandeis SCOPE voter registration group, first in Columbia SC and later in the summer in St. Matthews, Calhoun County, and for a day or two around a courthouse sit-in in Orangeburg.

I remember most importantly the amazing courage and careful watching over we were given in Calhoun County by Calhoun County Improvement League leaders Hope Williams, Ham Federick and the Keitt family next door. I remember too, Earl Coblyn, the gutsy Massachusetts lawyer who had settled in Orangeburg or nearby and did all manner of legal work for the local movements. Then there were the five or six local young men and women with whom we partnered on canvassing and the like — Harold McKenzie, Furman Hart Jr, the late Butch Jackson, and Scott whose last name I've forgotten.

There was much to learn from so many perspectives, white and black, that summer, about how change slowly comes about within us and without. Thanks again at long last to my Pittsburgh friend John Cooper, who drove the Chevy down.

How much did "I" do that summer? Almost nothing, I know looking back. But somehow lots of people's good almost nothings make a difference in the long run, as I saw when I revisited Hope, Ham, and Harold sometime in the nineties.

So carry it on!


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