Colia Liddell LaFayette Clark
(Lewis Liddell)
(1940-2022 In Memory)

NAACP, SNCC, 1959-70, Mississippi, Alabama

Let me start by saying that these internet sites expect well prepared statements on the spot. This is very much like the fight for basic civil rights in the Southern USA in the 1950's and 60's. Be ye therefore ready because you don't know what the white folk might bring.

Between 1959 and 1970, I spent pretty much full time working on civil rights and human rights causes. The major work being concentrated on the removal of those seemingly ancient symbols of subordination that marked the southern terrain and the struggle for the simple rights to vote.

My career started with NAACP at Tougaloo College and move rapidly to special assistant to Medgar W. Evers, field secretary for the NAACP. I am the founder and first president of the North Jackson NAACP Youth Council which is now infamous for initiating the 1963 mass movement at Jackson under the leadership and guidance of Medgar Evers and our advisor, John Salter. Many other adult leaders of North Jackson were involved in helping to shape the course and program of this small band of students and youth. The North Jackson NAACP Youth Council needs a major biography and a calling together of all the young men and women and the old ones who made this organization the center point of a major struggle for which most of the young people involved have not been given any credit. Anyone interested please call me at 610-532-1817.

In June 1962, I resigned my job with the NAACP and joined with Mississippi SNCC under the leadership of Robert P. Moses. We worked in Jackson, Hattiesburg (Forest County), Sun Flower County, Greeville on projects that were directed towards helping local Mississippians get registered to vote. One has to know that it is near impossible to work in a rural state under the feet of oppression and not work on related issues of the peoples.

In November, 1962, I met and married my first love, Bernard LaFayette, Jr., SNCC Field Secretary. In February, 1963 Bernard and I moved to Selma AL, where he served as director of the SNCC Black Belt Alabama Voter Project and I continued as SNCC field secretary. The project was headquartered at Selma but we had responsibility for developing voter registration and direct action projects in the seven Black Belt Counties. While at Selma, I was appointed by James Forman, executive secretary of SNCC, to assist with the Birmingham, Alabama Movement under the leadership of Dr. Martin L. King. It was in Birmingham that I took one of the worst beatings of my career in the civil rights struggle. Three fire houses assaulted me for what seemed forever on May 8, 1963.

In 1964, I was privileged to be a part of the birth of the Southern Organizing Committee at Nashville, Tennessee where Bernard and I were attending school at Fisk and giving birth to our first son, James Arthur. Nashville was the culminating point for the early years of civil rights in the South. Beyond lie Chicago, New York and national politics. By early 1973, I returned to my home state Mississippi and worked on a number of other projects including the editorship of the Jackson, Mississippi Advocate.

Today I recollect experiences of anti war, racism, Diallo, reparations, workers rights and the battle to end the Africa debt along with that of all of Central and South America. This work has taken me into the international arena where I think the progressive forces and especially the Black forces in the USA must centralize future struggles. These struggles around issues of imperialism, colonization, capitalism, racism, environmentalism, anti-woman, anti-youth, anti-age, anti-human struggles must be internationalized as a part of the struggles of other world groups and issues. It is important that the struggle of the African in the USA be removed from domestic servitude to international leadership-human at last.

I speak all over the place having just returned from Algeria where I participated in a Parliamentary two day conference on the "devastation of Africa its causes and dimensions, why and what can be done about it."

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