E. Marie Gertge

CORE, COFO, 1964, Mississippi
Current Residence:
414 W. Broadway
Lewistown, MT 59457

I worked in Clarksdale and Yazoo City under the leadership of Lafayette Surney and a woman whose name I have forgotten but deeply appreciate. I did work in the Freedom School, worked with a Seniors Literacy Program and advocated for voter registration in the community.

At 19, against the wishes of my family in Colorado, I carried my sense of human rights there and will always recall my experience of the highlight of my activism.

I have a county court case which was referred in Supreme Court cases later simply because I took a photo of the young white women on a mezzanine giving the finger to those of us who were attempting to enter the courtroom as the sherrif was spraying those in the room with deodorant. I (non-black) gave my Brownie camera to a friend (black) who hung it around his neck. Minutes later, he was dragged down the steps to jail. I was also arrested and jailed and no attorney in town would defend me at a hearing. I had violated a city ordinance.

The matter never came up before I left in the fall. The police kept the camera (I suppose for evidence) but I sure wish I had been able to keep what I saw as a perfect irony regarding the "Southern Belles" behavior.

I have since become an educator(in Detroit Public Schools)deputy directed a child care training and referral agency there, been to University of Michigan Law School and reared 4 children as a single parent.

Although nothing quite compared to those days in the summer of 1964, I have advocated for the civil rights of all persons in my varied capacities.

As depression began to diminish my energies in my 50's, I went to live in Montana where the pace of life is more serene. I am now doing well and am willing to speak to anyone about my experiences.

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