Letter From a SCOPE Volunteer
Willy Siegel Leventhal
Macon, GA. Mid-July, 1965

[Letter from mid-July 1965 from SCLC/SCOPE activist Willy Leventhal to his then roommate at UCLA, Charlie Goldberg. See SCOPE Summer Project for background information.]

Hey Charlie,

We got 380 registered last week [in Macon, GA]. We have over 1000 now and are starting to get organized. I got arrested. I guess you know. I've been threatened a few times but I hope nothing serious happens.

I've integrated a Negro baseball team from Macon (the Macon Bombers) I've played in two games which we won 11-3, 8-3 and have gotten on base four out of five times. I've been lucky. We play three games this week — one Saturday night and two Sunday. It gives me a good opportunity to meet many people and see different towns in Georgia.

We have much trouble with apathy from many Negroes. When a man has not voted in 40 years it is sometimes very difficult to convince him he should. There are many reasons. The roads in all of the Negro sections are not paved: the schools are not as good as white schools; and six Goldwater Republicans were elected on June 16, when only 3000 out of 14,000 registered Negroes voted (out of 28,000 eligible).

The people that we work with here a great. I'm real happy because there are lots of Willies. We Willies feel that 'all people are created equal, but Willies are created more equal.'

Inside I feel great because I can look at people as human beings — I believed I could before, and wanted to before, but now I really can. the experience is giving me a great chance to understand myself and to relate to other people. I feel very good insider because I know what I am doing is good, and right and important.

Nonviolence works. The basic theory is that when someone is verbally or physically antagonistic to you — you do not agree with them by being antagonistic. I have been cursed at and threatened but I always answer politely and it brings the situation under control. Some people have been friendly. A president of the Young Republicans has said I can speak atr one of their meetings and a few other people have talked cordially and interestingly to us.

We (three others) had an hour and a half talk with the President of the White Citizens Council. (The office is across from the City Hall and they have been taking pictures of us). It was pitiful — the man was cordial and polite but based his belief on prejudice — justified by the misinterpretation and selection of certain parts of history and biology. He thinks we are sincere, but part of a Communist pot. As he explained it, we are 'Communist dupes.'

I'm living with a very nice family and getting along very well. Almost all of the people are very warm and friendly."

Copyright © Willy Siegel Leventhal, 1965

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