Wally Roberts
(1941 — 2018)


As remembered by Penny Patch, David Martin
August 7, 2018

Wally Roberts who was a MS Summer volunteer in 1964 and whose life was changed by that experience died a few days ago. I did not know him well, but as two of the few Movement veterans in the state of Vermont, we met on panels and on radio broadcasts. And needless to say on assorted demonstrations. A very good man. Wally did a lot of good work in our state. He will be missed.


As remembered by John McAuliff
August 8, 2018

Wally and I were briefly together in Shaw [MS] before I transferred to Cleveland [MS].

In looking at my e-mail records, I found his periodic posts to the SNCC list and a personal note in September 2007:

Dear John,

Perhaps you can help me.

Attached is a proposal I've written outlining the need for an investigation of the deaths of four members of a Shaw family who worked with us in '64 and went on to become local leaders of the movement.

Any suggestions you might have for funding or publication would be greatly appreciated. I've tried the Nation Institute and Fund for Investigative Journalism, as well as the obvious magazines, but no luck so far.

Best wishes,
Wally Roberts

Unfortunately I had no suggestions at the time and due to a computer crash cannot find the attachment.

However I wanted to share Wally's note as a legacy of his lifelong concern for Mississippi, and in case anyone else had been able to assist him.

I commend Wally's full obituary to witness the extraordinary life work he undertook inspired as many of us were by the experience and the people of the Summer Project.


As remembered by Heather Tobis Booth
August 8, 2018

Wally was my freedom school director in Shaw in 1964. We formed a friendship that lasts still.

He worked for Mass Fair Share when I was co-director if the national association of which this was a part, building grassroots direct action and organizing with a combined SNCC and Alinsky model. At the time it was one of the most recognized and respected and powerful organizations in the state.

He then became director of the Vermont Alliance, building a similar statewide popular organization there.

He continued working for justice, democracy and freedom.

He ran a senior center, directed Vermont Public Interest Research Group and Vermont Common Cause. He continued his investigative research and writing and always continued his search for how to build a more decent caring society.

He cared for his wife Elizabeth through her long struggle with cancer and was distraught after her death a few years ago. She had gone to high school with my husband and we celebrated at a reunion on one of Wallys several trips to DC when he stayed with us.

He was a gentle spirit with a fierce commitment to building a more just world.

I value his friendship, honor his legacy and mourn his loss.

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