Charles Horwitz

(Deceased, 2006)

SNCC, COFO, 1964-1973

From Sept. 1964 until June 1973, I worked for COFO, then became a paid SNCC Freedom Fund worker, then worked for the Freedom Information Service and the Delta Ministry of the National Counsel of Churches in Jackson, Edwards and rural Hinds County. I regard my work in Mississippi as the most significant and enriching experience of my life

In Jackson, I worked with COFO communications on Lynch Street for two years. In rural Hinds county for several years, I worked in voter education and registration, political and community organizing, economic development, welfare rights, research and production of citizenship and political education materials. I was on the board of the state MFDP board and helped edit the MFDP newsletter. I was the president of the Miss. ACLU for four years. Later, I tried to help organize poor white Mississippians around school and work issues in partnership with black folks during my last years in Jackson. That was my least successful organizing effort.

I married Carol Hinds, a headstart and adult education teacher, activist and white Mississippian, who was on the CDGM board. We raised two daughters in Mississippi. Rebecca now teaches Spanish, French and English as a second language in a rural upstate New York public high school. She has a two year old son. Allison worked, until recently, at an AIDS activist social service agency in NYC and lives with us in Brooklyn. After Mississippi I became a lawyer and worked for a Legal Services-funded program for migrant farmworkers for nine years. For the past 15 years I have worked for the NY State Department of Labor Counsel's Office in NYC enforcing the garment industry sweatshop laws, minimum wage and related employment laws.

Although we helped black folks build a political movement, we failed to build an economic counterpart. I regret that. For the past five years I have working with Haitian grassroots groups to develop an alternative bank for the poor. It has grown from two staffers to 120 and has 16 offices throughout the country. I work with various local groups in Brooklyn and am a volunteer attorney for an international women's' activist organization.

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