William Porter
(1941 — 2018)


As remembered by Muriel Tillinghast
August 24, 2018

To the SNCC Community,

I have been asked by William Porter's son to inform you that William Porter made his transition today. He had been ailing and his death comes at the end of an expressed period of decline in his health. Porter, as he was frequently called, moved back to Albany, Georgia in 2008. It is in that city in southwest Georgia, home of SNCC's Southwest Georgia Project, where the services will be held for family and friends who are able to attend to memorialize him and to say their goodbyes.

Southwest Georgia, part of the southern Black Belt, geographically where the system of plantation economies ran across the south from the Atlantic seaboard to Texas, was as rife with aggression and hostility towards Blacks as any part of the better known archetype Mississippi. It was local residents like Porter among others who connected with SNCC Field Secretaries to help improve some things in the 1960s. Like its sister southern states, improvement was costly in human effort. And, like our ongoing struggle, this was part of the continuum that neither started nor ended with SNCC.

In SNCC's Atlanta Office, Porter was a beloved fixture. Personable with a great sense of humor and armed with significant cooking skills, people surrounded him at work and at home enjoying his candor, his snippets and his many kindnesses. He was a real friend, a genuine person.


As remembered by M. Phyllis Cunningham
August 25, 2018

Thank you, Muriel. Amen to what you have written about Porter. One of the treasured cogs in SNCC's well-oiled, functioning wheel! A good man gone. Unforgettable!


As remembered by Leslie-Burl McLemore
August 25, 2018

I have fond memories of William Porter and his terrific sense of humor. He was one of the kindest souls that i had the opportunity to meet in SNCC. I have not seen him in many years but i often thought about him.

Rest in eternal peace, My Brother.


As remembered by Bob Brown
August 26, 2018

Porter RIP!

Joyce Brown (Chicago SNCC), Stanley Wise and Porter (Atlanta SNCC Office) are responsible, good or bad, for my transition from Chicago CORE to SNCC in September 1967. I had meet KT when Monroe Sharpe and his wife brought him to town in June 1966, but he was out of the country in Sep 1967. I brought KT to Chicago in March 1968, introduced him to Fred Hampton and Bob Rush. The rest is history.

I have always had a fondness in my heart for Joyce, Stanley, and Porter, even though I did not know where they were or have contact with them. That fondness grows. Let me know when and where the service is. I will try to attend the services, at a lest send a message of condolence to Porter's family. Stay Strong!


As remembered by Faith Holsaert
August 27, 2018

When I arrived in Albany Georgia in the autumn of 1962, Porter had either moved to Atlanta or was about to. He had graduated from high schoool, an important milestone, the spring before. He had boundless energy, a patience and persistence I wish I could have had. I remember so clearly how the atmosphere at the Freedom House at 504 South Madison St would brighten when Porter was in the house and also his steadiness.


As remembered by Bernice Johnson Reagon
September 1, 2018

SNCC coming to Albany to organize gave all of us, including Porter a new life and purpose. I have not seen him since I moved from Albany years ago. I do know that the Movement, in Albany and Atlanta SNCC gave him a purpose and identity.

I am retired and in DC now and appreciate being connnected to those of us who became who we are because of the circles we created.


As remembered by SNCC Legacy Project
September 3, 2018

To the family of WILLIAM PORTER

The SNCC Legacy Project would like to express its sincerest condolences to the family of William Porter. "Porter", as he was known to most SNCC staff, was part of the "Band of Brothers and Sisters and Circle of Trust" that risked life and limb to change the segregated South. William Porter, a son of the South, was born in Southwest Georgia, and he, along with other young people, decided to end the discriminatory practices they faced in Albany and other parts of Southwest Georgia. Porter was one of the young people who put his body on the line and was prepared to engage in the policy of "jail, no bail" to make Black Americans first-class citizens. He used his strong religious beliefs to reinforce the idea that we're all God's children. Porter used his gift of song to encourage the young people of Southwest Georgia to engage in protest that helped to end segregationist practices.

After working in Southwest Georgia, Porter joined the national staff of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and engaged in voter registration projects that organized an effective "One Person, One Vote" campaign in America. In SNCC's Atlanta Office, Porter was a beloved fixture. Personable with a great sense of humor and armed with significant cooking skills, people surrounded him at work and at home enjoying his candor, his snippets and his many kindnesses. He was a real friend, a genuine person.

Although many years have passed since we helped to change America, our beliefs and connections remain eternal. William Porter was truly a soldier in the army that helped all Americans fulfill the ideal that all men and women are created equal.


As remembered by Annette Jones White
September 3, 2018

I learned of the death of William Porter just a few minutes ago and I felt a great sense of loss and regret. When we worked together in the Albany, Ga Movement, I found him to be a bundle of energy, self-directed, dedicated to our goals and proud to be a part of SNCC. He and I often sat on my front porch discussing events of the day and making canvassing plans for the next day. He was seldom without a smile and he enjoyed making everybody laugh. I last saw him many years go and I regret that I am not able to travel to Albany to attend services. I will always remember his pleasant and outgoing personality and his willingness to do whatever was needed to advance the Movement. He helped change people's lives for the better. Well done, Porter, now rest in peace.

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