The nearly six months I spent in Clarksdale, Mississippi were the most creative and powerful times of my life. I felt at peace and on purpose with my life. I was the president of the SNCC chapter on the campus of Cal State, Northridge. I organized a series of parties and raised $2,000 and 2,000 pounds of food and clothing and took it by Greyhound to Clarksdale to work with my friend Sandy Siegel who had been there for the Freedom Summer Project. I arrived the day they discovered the bodies of Cheney, Schwerner and Goodman.
I stayed for two weeks working with the SNCC freedom house, helping to organize a youth group and teaching small children and Mrs. Brooks, my host how to read. I then returned to L.A. to learn how to conduct a Marathon Intensive weekend personal growth group. I returned to Clarksdale a few weeks later and conducted three marathons with interracial groups and youth groups. On my scond trip which lasted until January, i arrived just as most of the white students were leaving. My fall and winter were spent in working with the youth group, teaching children and working in the community. I wrote a paper on the social welfare system of Clarksdale and collected music from the area.
Every day I was there, I felt alive and energized. I felt accepted in a way I had never experienced before. Walking down the street older black people would spontaneously come and take my hand in theirs and say how much they appreciated what we were doing.. They clearly understood the risks we were taking. Doing the intensive weekends was a wonderful opportunity for the teenagers I was working with to focus on their futures and to clear a lot of negative programming from their minds. I was always invigorated by the process and thoughout the five months
I stayed in Clarksdale, I conducted three groups and spent a lot of time with the kids. We sang and danced to Major Lance and other R&B greats.
In the 36 years since Clarksdale, I have been involved with Operation Bootstrap in Watts, California, the Center for Desegregation at the University of South Carolina and consulted with businesses and organizations on cross cultural issues in Atlanta and Memphis. I am now in private practice as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and business consultant in Memphis.
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Last Modified: November 7, 2000.