John S. Hetlinger

SCLC, 1965, Florida
Current Residence: Shawnee, KS

Having just graduated from High School in 1965, through a church group I traveled to Madison, FL. to become involved in a Voter Registration drive. A group of us lived in a house in Madison and from day one we were in constant danger from angry white citizens. Threatening telephone calls and harassment from the local police were the norm. One afternoon the chief of police attacked one of our group and I photographed the beating that followed. Several times the FBI was called and we related to government officials what was happening to us. As a result of witnessing the beating I was called to testify at a federal trial that took place in Jacksonville toward the end of the summer. While sitting in the hallway during the trial, four white men came up and said I would never make it back to Kansas alive. Now, almost 50 years later, I am very proud of having put my life on the line supporting the civil rights movement.


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