As remembered by Maria Gitin
August 16, 2013
Bob Crawford, Sr. 1909-1981
Georgia Bradley Crawford. 1911-1988
Independent local civil rights activists and hosts to SNCC men, Pine Apple, AL, Wilcox County, 1960's.
Bob Crawford worked in the sawmill all day and on his farm every morning and evening, but he still made time to organize and recruit voters in his district. Mrs. Crawford did ironing with irons heated on a wood stove, put up jams, made quilts, took care of the crops and animals, cared for her granddaughters, and hosted SNCC workers including Luke (Bob) Block, Charles (Chuck) Bonner, and Eric P. Jones during the summer of 1965.
Luke Block tells the story that one night a white man spotted the three civil rights workers in a little country nightclub, the Do Drop In. The man went to get a tire iron to chase the teenagers so they ran through the woods back to the house. When they told Mr. Crawford what happened he distributed rifles to Bonner and Jones and then sat up all night while he told Bob to go ahead and sleep in the back. No use having a white face in the window. But no one dared cross the fiercely independent Crawfords threshold, that night or any other.
Because of his work in the Movement, canvassing voters, going to meetings, giving rides and housing workers, Bob Crawford was set up by Sheriff Lummie Jenkins and served six months in the state penitentiary for making moonshine. But that didn't stop Crawford; he came out and went right back to working for his rights and those of his neighbors including being a poll watcher in the very first elections in Wilcox County where African Americans could vote, in May 1966.
Anyone who knew them remembers the Crawfords for Bob's storytelling and Georgia's excellent cooking and kindness. One of Mr. Crawford's favorite sayings was: "I don't want it all black or all white. We gotta' mix it up. So long as they are good people, it don't matter if you are black or white. Just treat ever' body like they treat you."
Bob Crawford's granddaughter Joy Crawford-Washington remembers her grandparents as larger than life, incredibly loving, generous and brave. "I remember when granddaddy and I were coming home one evening, and we saw my grandmother with my granddaddy's rifle and my older sister with a pitchfork. They were standing in the backyard near the house. My grandfather asked what are you all doing, and my grandmother responded that some man was calling his name, and she was not going to let them take she and my sister by surprise. I draw courage from their fearless behavior every day of my life."
© Maria Gitin from This Bright Light of Ours: Stories from the
Voting Rights Fight
University of Alabama Press, 2014.