Jo Green
(Jo Liana King, Liana King)

SNCC, Mississippi, 1965
3020 El Cerrito Plaza #540
El Cerrito, CA 94530

When I was a college student at San Francisco State in California, I was deeply moved by the actions of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and by his "Letter from Birmingham Jail."

I spent the summer and part of September of 1965 working with SNCC. Early on, we marched in Jackson, Mississippi where 800+ of us were arrested for parading without a permit. In the Jackson city jail, I was among 13 white women who fasted in protest for being segregated from the black women, who had been jailed in a sports arena.

After 17 days of fasting, when we were released, I relocated to Aberdeen, Mississippi, to work in the Aberdeen freedom house and Freedom School. I lived with a kind and generous family who risked much, along with many other locals, to support the movement.

A great deal of voter registration took place. I set up a library in the freedom school where we held classes for youngsters. During that summer our freedom house was firebombed, we were shot at following a sit-in at a cafe, and chased by rifle-toting members of the Klan in pick-ups, who arrived at the site of another sit-in on the steps of a jail in a neighboring county. We escaped on foot through back yards and hid overnight in a school bus.

After the firebombing, a civil rights worker named Joe salvaged a burned-out typewriter — he disassembled it, soaked the parts in oil then reassembled it — a process taking several days.

Much more happened, this is just an overview. I returned to San Francisco at the end of that summer, and now, 44 years later, after watching the Inauguration of President Barak Obama, I do believe that we have overcome, for this moment, today.


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