Jerry DeMuth

SNCC, 1964-65, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi
Current Residence:
933 W. Ainslie St.
Chicago, IL 60640

Tired of Being Sick and Tired, The Nation, June 1, 1964.
Black Belt, Alabama: Total Segregation, Commonweal

Worked with SNCC in communications, research and printing in Atlanta office, and frequently visited projects in Selma and throughout Mississippi in 1964-65. In 1962 and 1963 also spent some time in Cairo, IL., and in SW Tennessee, unrelated to being on American Friends Service Committee staff in Dayton, Ohio, 1962-63, doing alternative service.

I made return trips to Mississippi and Selma in the 1970s. Wrote movement oriented articles for Commonweal, The Nation, New Republic, America, Dayton Journal-Herald, Milwaukee Journal, National Catholic Reporter and some other religious publications. Was on staff of Chicago Sun-Times 1966-78.

1962-65 were challenging and stimulating times, regarding belief in people and ideals of justice and democracy. And there were some surprises, a white farmer who gave food to the movement, a white auto mechanic who worked on movement cars — both of them in Mississippi; and the white doctor in Montgomery who stitched up a split in my scalp from Sheriff Clark's posse in Selma. All three of whom showed support and hope for justice and freedom among sputhern whites outside the movement.

To expand on page two of the SNCC WATS Report for July 5 1964:

Along with photog Dave Prince, I was a witness in a Justice Depart suit against Sheriff Jim Clark and his posse following our being shot at and beaten in Selma.

The morning of July 5, 1964, Jim Forman asked me to take photog Dave Prince to Selma so Prince could photograph a voter registration drive scheduled that evening at a small church in Selma. After we arrived, Prince wanted to see Sheriff Jim Clark to let our presence be known.

When we arrived in Clark's office the sheriff was seated behind his desk, talking on the phone. With his right hand he was writing on a sheet or pad of paper. It was the SNCC national office headquarters address in Atlanta, an address I had given Georgia authorities months earlier to get a Georgia license plate and driver's license in order to dispense with my Illinois plates and license, something I would change once back in Georgia.

On Clark's left was a copy of Rogue magazine, a slick imitation of Playboy, with a bikini-clad model on the cover and the titles of the issue's articles appearing as tattoos over her body. "SNCC vs the Klan", or it may have been "SNCC vs KKK", the title of my article in that current issue, appeared across her abdomen. Clark turned to my article, taking issue with my description of a Selma civil rights worker's arrest. The magazine's editor, Frank M. Robinson, in his column on the issue's authors described me, without my input, as a "member" of SNCC.

Copyright ©
(Labor donated)