Harriet Tanzman

As remembered by the Tanzman Family

In Memoriam SNCC Legacy Project (SLP)


As remembered by Ira Grupper
May 8, 2020

I remember Harriet visiting me when I worked with COFO/MFDP in Marion County (Columbia), MS. She had known Curtis Styles, who had directed the MFDP project. Harriet and I became good friends.

And when my (then) wife and I drove from NYC to Louisville KY, to join the SCEF staff, in 1969, Harriet accompanied us and she spent a few days in Louisville.

She was a righteous person. We all have our ghosts and goblins (I certainly do), and Harriet had many to deal with over many years. Her tenacity, her dedication to building a better world, and her humanityare what I will always remember.


As remembered by Dr. Robert Smith
May 8, 2020

To All: This country should be grateful that there are great Americans like the late Harriet Tanzman. We must be thankful to her family and her early childhood experiences that led to her becoming a great American.

I was fortunate to meet Harriet in '64 when she came to Mississippi in the heat of the summer in "the belly of the beast," "ground zero" as it was called, to put her life on the line for the rights of all Americans. It was too hot for some. Some stayed for a week, some for the summer and a few like Harriet spent a lifetime working tirelessly for the rights of all Americans, especially "the least of these." Remembering her from my point of view would be long for through the years we would always have an opportunity to interact. She was an oral historian who captured my oral history. We were fortunate to work together on the board for the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer.

I served as her family physician from the beginning and we developed a relationship that led her to support our work as a principal founder of community health centers, now FQHCs, serving over 30 million Americans, about one million in Mississippi.

Finally, on a personal note, I'm very proud that she selected me as her physician for she was proud of me and appreciated the struggle of minority physicians. There would be occasions to refer her out to other specialists and Harriet would always find her way back to her medical home, Central Mississippi Health Services, Inc.

My sincere condolences to her family, to SNCC, and all the people to whom she gave a lifetime of service.

Rest in Peace, Harriet

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