Staughton Lynd


As remembered by James Marshall
November 17, 2022

He was my mentor to his last days. I will miss him deeply. He lived as a repairer of the breach, a true believer in Tikkun Olam and a fighter for Justice to be Done.


There you were, so hopeful and young, at the Mississippi Freedom School.
Brothers and sisters in a circle of love, breakin' segregation's rule.
Standing by the ones reshaping their lives;
Hand in hand with Alice, his soul mate for life,
Troopers for justice, non-violence their knife;
A beacon light for the rest of us tryin' to make this world right!

In the year of the wrath, the B-52 bomb, taking on the Pentagon,
Arm and arm with Moses, Dellinger and Tom (Hayden), against bayoneted guns,
On the first laps of a long-distance run,
Marching and speaking against war and hate;
Black-balled from teaching, an enemy of the state;
Speaking truth to power in the dark hours before the new world to come.

(Chorus) Mighty soldier, my hero, my guide, you accompanied so many.
Long distance runner, my comrade for life, Your good deeds and words so plenty,
Your courage as great as any, was something to see — you old warrior!

Sinking roots in Youngstown, landed in the middle of the mill shutdown protest;
With John Barbero, Ed Mann, the Solidarity Club, they were the rank and files' best.
Alongside the fighters of the new dispossessed —
Storming the stations of the barons of steel;
Shaking the foundations of the new iron heel;
Making guerilla history, like the dreams of old SDS.

In the footsteps of Romero, where Sandinista stood free, with the Palestinian refugee;
In the Super-Max jails, where Jesus would be, against the death penalty;
Living inside hope, in a sea of apathy;
Doing the things he thinks should be done;
Being what he says we all should become,
Scrapper man with Momma Bear, forever defiant and free.

(Chorus- 2nd time)

Mighty soldier, moral conscience, my political guide...
You accompanied so many.
Long distance runner, my comrade for life,
Your good deeds and words so plenty,
Oh, Your courage as great as any, was something to see — you old warrior!

© Mike Stout, 2012


As remembered by Zoharah Simmons
November 19, 2022

I was so blessed to meet Staughton Lynd in my first year at Spelman College in Atlanta in 1962! He became my mentor & my friend from those days forward, 60 plus years of comradeship!

It was Dr. Lynd who introduced me to real American History! From the Transatlantic Slave Trade to the Slave Revolts to David Walker's Appeal to Harriet Tubman to Frederick Douglass on to the Niagra Movement, W.E.B. DuBois, & on & on & on. He urged me & all his students to join the Student Sit-In Movement & praised & encouraged my activism! In my sophomore year, I had the pleasure of helping him work on the Freedom School Curriculum and rode with him to The 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer Orientation in Oxford, Ohio with hundreds of the printed Freedom School Curriculums curriculums on the back seat of his car!

On the way, we stopped at Antioch College for my In person interview. Thanks to Dr. Lynd, I had applied to Antioch at his urging, as he warned me that Spelman would never let me stay given my activism! I was constantly under suspension & threats in my 2nd year! Thanks to Dr. Lynd, he asked Mrs. Corretta Scott King, to write a recommendation for me, which she did. He also wrote a glowing recommendation for me! I was accepted! But it would be many years (30+) before I would attend Antioch at one of their satellite campuses in Philadelphia to begin my slow return to earning college degrees!

Dr. Lynd and I never lost touch over these 60+ years! I was honored to attend the celebration of his 90th Birthday along with my SNCC colleague, Robert (Bob) Zellner & my Spelman sister & Movement comrade, Alice Walker, who was also mentored and nurtured by Staughton Lynd!


Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons


As remembered by Bob Zellner
December 3, 2022

Remembering Staughton my old friend and comrade, Alice and Staughton Lynd, an organizing pair grown old in the struggle, have become an example for all battlers who are rattling the gates of hell. John Wesley famously said, "Give me one hundred preachers who fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but God, and I care not a straw whether they be clergymen or laymen; such alone will shake the gates of hell and set up the kingdom of heaven on earth."

Staughton Lynd was not a preacher but he might as well have been.

Staughton Lynd and Howard Zinn, lifelong comrades in arms, did not, however, always agree. We young people sitting at their feet felt it a treat to feast on their thoughts. Zinn, a super democrat always, said to let the people decide. Stoughton would quickly reply, "hey, not so fast. Sometimes the people make terrible decisions. He'd then asked Zinn if the right of Black people in the South to vote should be voted on by all the people in the South. Of course, not, they'd vote to keep an all-white, white supremist ballot box.

Staughton and Alice provided their mentees with a grand example of organizing as a couple. They set a high bar for the two of us. Dear Elizabeth Pamela Smith Zellner, my Godsent partner in old age, is a more than full time organizer with me, as we combine our life experiences. We are now working full time passing on to younger generations the will and the skills to continue making the earth a better place for all living creatures. Pamela has wonderful children all over the world, grown children with children of their own. She has been a strong leader all her life as a founder of The Farm, an intentional center of women's rights, especially reproductive rights. She is so popular with young people especially young women, that she has taken over a large part of our speaking and teaching schedule.

My tears fell when James Marshall sent word of Staughton's passing. My sorrow is maybe a reflection of the realization that all of us old hands in the freedom movement are approaching eternity. Then, after saying my morning prayers, I think that we should celebrate the extraordinary life of our brother as he takes his honored place in the universe which has always been on our side, bending toward justice as it does. Whatever concept we each have of the universe and eternity; we may be able to imagine flights of angels bearing Staughton to his well-earned eternal rest. He is well known already in heaven as a courageous man upholding the truth.

Sadly, and with great admiration,
Your friend and comrade,
Bob Zellner


As remembered by Stephen Bingham
December 3, 2022

Staughton was that rare example of a truly committed social justice advocate and brilliant intellectual. While I knew him slightly at Yale which fired him for his anti-war stance and in Mississippi, I connected most with him when he became a legal aid attorney in Youngstown Ohio. I similarly was a legal aid lawyer in San Francisco at the time. Staughton tried desperately and creatively to help prevent the closing of the steel mill in Youngstown and others in the surrounding area but sadly the forces of capitalism won out. This interview with Staughton three years ago gives a good sense of his thoughts on preventing steel mill closures, including purchase of the mills by the workers. His outside-the-box thinking was legendary. A giant redwood has fallen in the forest. We will all miss him greatly.

Stephen Bingham
(Mississippi COFO 1963-64)

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