Dr. Gwendolyn M. Patton, MIA, SCLC, SNCC
(1943 — 2017)

See also In Memoriam: Gwen Patton, SNCC Legacy Project (SLP)

As remembered by Fannie Theresa Rushing
May 12, 2017

I was talking with Dorothy Dewberry Aldridge this morning and she was telling me what a lovely visit, she recently had, with Gwen Patton, and of her untimely death on Wednesday evening. It is a constant reminder to treasure every moment we have with friends and loved ones. It is a sad loss of a life- long fighter for civil rights and social justice.

Rest in struggle, Gwen Patton, yours was a job well done.


As remembered by Ted Glick
May 12, 2017

So very sad. Gwen was a warrior.


As remembered by Ira Grupper
May 12, 2017

Gwen Patton, a SNCC sister, was a fount of knowledge on so many subjects. I was writing about the movie Selma, and needed specific information. So I called Gwen, and maybe an hour later she emailed me more information than I could handle.

We were both part of NCIPA (Natl. Comm. for Independent Political Action)... I last saw her at Arthur Kinoy's funeral, maybe 13 or 14 years ago, but we spoke by phone, or emailed, many times since then.

Gwen and I, both disabled, talked about struggles in this arena. She told me that, in battling her university, she was deliberately given a higher floor as an office...

May Gwen's example of scholarship, activism and struggle against injustice live on in the youth of today. The Wobblies said it so well:

Mourn not the dead
That in the cold earth lie.
Dust unto dust.
The cold sweet earth that mothers
   all who die...
But, rather, mourn the apathetic throng,
The cowed and the meek,
Who see the world's great anguish and its wrong—
And dare not speak.

In sadness, love, and faith in the future,


As remembered by Lula Joe Williams
May 13, 2017

Good Morning All,

I received a call of yesterday (Friday), informing me that our Civil Rights Movement Sister, Dr. Gwendolyn Patton, from Montgomery, AL had passed away. I have no other information other than Ross & Clayton Funeral Home is where she was taken as I receive information, I will pass it on to you. Let's keep Gwen's Family lifted up in Prayer. I know God will strengthen and Comfort us All. She has fought a Good Fight for such a long time, now she is resting in the Arm of our Lord and Savior. RIP My Friend, we will always remember your works. Blessings to all!


As remembered by Joyce Ladner
May 13, 2017

Gwen was a warrior for justice. Gone but not forgotten.


As remembered by Sharlene Kranz
May 13, 2017

I met Gwen Patton in the summer of 1965 when I arrived at Tuskegee Institute to work on a summer literacy project. She was the president of the student government and we came to spend a lot of time together that summer participating in SNCC demonstrations and actions coordinated by TI student Sammy Younge, Jr. Gwen was so welcoming and friendly and really made me feel like she was glad I was there. She was a leader and role model. We stayed in touch over the years. Her passing is a sad loss.


As remembered by Claire Patrese Sams
May 13, 2017

Gwen Patton, passed away after a brief illness, Thursday night, May 11, 2017, at a local, Montgomery hospital. We all remember Gwen as a valiant warrior and committed soldier to SNCC and the social justice everywhere!



As remembered by Theresa El-Amin
May 15, 2017

I first met Gwen in 1988 in Cleveland OH. (However, I learned years later of our Tuskegee connection in 1965 when I was a first-year student who "quituated" to volunteer with SNCC.) Gwen was in Cleveland in 1988 in her role on the Jesse Jackson campaign for President. The union I worked for, Service Employees International Union (SEIU), supported the Jesse Jackson campaign.

One of my favorite photos of Gwen is with her and Mukasa Willie Ricks. That photo is featured on the cover of brochures of the Southern Anti-Racism Network.

Another photo I cherish is the photo taken at Gwen's retirement from Trenholm State Technical College. Also, in attendance at Gwen's retirement party were the co-directors of Project South. Gwen served on the board of Project South for several years and remained an important mentor and supporter of Project South staff. (I'm sure Project South folks have lots of memories and photos to share.)

Gwen participated in the Southern Anti-Racism Network Ella Baker Tour (2008-2010). One of the Durham NC stops on the tour was the historically Black high school — Hillside High School. The students were exceptionally rowdy that day. Gwen burst into song from the stage and clearly impressed the students into paying attention for a few minutes. Annie Pearl was also on stage with Gwen that day along with Al Pertilla.

I spoke with Efia Nwangaza on Sunday about the news of Gwen's transition. We pledged to meet up in Montgomery on Saturday to salute our sister and comrade, Dr. Gwen Patton. Presente!

Theresa El-Amin
Southern Anti-Racism Network


As remembered by Taylor Branch
May 15, 2017

I was saddened to learn of Gwen Patton's death.

I met Gwen Patton late in June 1966 at the Encampment for Citizenship on the University of Maryland campus. On opening night, Stokely Carmichael debated Al Lowenstein over the new Black Power cry SNCC was raising on the Meredith March through Mississippi. Al was full of reason on the need for cross-racial alliances, but Stokely ran circles around him with passion and wit. Two or three days later, Gwen and I ventured into a College Park bar that turned out to be the hangout for football players who shoved us out the door and then followed us. They terrified me, but she scared them. The KKK was marching around our dorm when we got back to UM. Gwen was always a firebrand with humor and a zest for knowledge. Her witness deserves to be carried on."


As emembered by Ann Swint
January 23, 2018

My first year at Tuskegee Institute was fall 1965. I have vivid memories of Gwen leading Student Government meetings in Logan Hall which was packed.

I also remember Dean Phillips and Wendell Paris. Wendell and his forces protected students as they marched. They walked along side us with Shotguns when we marched downtown after Sammy Younge was murdered.

We always had civil rights leaders and celebrities on campus. My most cherished memory is that of Stokely Carmichael coming to my English class and leading a discussion about Kitty Genovese. Our English teacher, Ms. Blank, would always allow her students to attend student government meetings, campus protests and marches. She also attended these events. I regret that I couldn't go to the rallies out of town, because my big sister would have told my mom.

However, I did participate in all the local events. The energy on campus was awesome. With Gwen leading us, we just rode the wave. It felt right. I recall the heated discussions among students as to whether they would be called "Negro" or "Black." It hadn't been that long, since we had moved from being called "colored" to "Negro."

Dorothy Baker was a major force in getting the word out about campus rallies/activities. She would put flyers all over our dorm. I talked to her on yesterday. It broke my heart to learn that Gwen had passed. I will always remember these two ladies as dynamic leaders. Dorothy Baker continues her advocacy for preserving and restoring our history.

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