Betita Martinez
(Elizabeth Sutherland Martinez)
(1925-2021, In Memory)

SNCC 1964-67

Liz is Betita: A SNCC Memory
Mandate From History: SNCC Takes Stock, 1964.
On Time in Mississippi, 1964-1994
The Cat and Mouse Game

See also: The Heart Just Insists by Tony Platt.

Work with SNCC was first the N.Y. Friends of SNCC chapter, when I worked as an editor at Simon & Schuster and got The Movement book of photos published with royalties going to SNCC. Then came the 1964 Misssissippi Summer Project. Back in New York, I became coordinator of SNCC's New York office, which involved fundraising, public relations including the press, demonstrations and other support actions. Helping Stokely and later Jim Forman in writing about SNCC for publication was a special treat. The book Letters from Mississippi, which I edited, came out of those years. Also memorable was a 1967 trip to Cuba representing SNCC at a huge gathering of Latin American revolutionaries.

In 1968 I moved to New Mexico to work in the Chicano movement, which included starting a newspaper there and later the Chicano Communications Center. It was a new front in the struggle against racism. At the Center we published the groundbreaking bilingual book, 500 Years of Chicano History in Pictures. As the mass movements slowed down, I went to California looking for socialist strategies and joined a Marxist party for 8 years until it disbanded. Our work did include some good grassroots organizing and solidarity work, which I tried to continue in other projects. Three years ago, I initiated the Institute for MultiRacial Justice in San Francisco with Phil Hutchings as a resource center to help build alliances among peoples of color and combat our divisions. I've also been teaching Ethnic Studies and Women's Studies in the California State University system, doing anti-racist workshops, and working as a resource person with youth groups. Four more books about various struggles have come out of these years. My health is good, I have a fine daughter Tessa, and SNCC remains an inspiration.

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(Labor donated)