Helped organize N.VA. CORE in 1960, Ran Metro-Washington War on Poverty 1963-67. Met and Married Margaret Herring. With Ella Baker, Anne Braden and Jim Forman's advice, I took a job with Appalachian Volunteers, an independent regional agency similar to the metro-DC agency Sharlene Kranz and I set up and staffed with SNCC organizers.
On April Fool's Day, 1967, Margaret and I found a home in Pike County, KY. and began holding integrated workshops in a large house the FBI began following us before we got unpacked. On went to Coal Counties in E. KY to work with Ella Baker and Anne Braden experimenting how to win UMWA Unionists to become a part of the struggle to dismantle Racism. Jack Minnis and I creating SCEF's Organizer's Library Series, and other literature used by the Appalachian Volunteers.
We soon were arrested for "sedition" along with our good friends, Joe and Karen Mulloy, from the AV's. Sheriff Justice swore in a deposition that "sedition" meant when "black and white people" become friends. A month after Nixon beat Hubert Humphrey, a coal-miner's 8-stick dynamite bomb was hurled at the window over our bed, barely missing Victor (1), Margaret (32) Al (32). The attempted assassins never arrested, although the bomb is a common tool for every coal miner in the area, the FBI closed the assassination attempt when Nixon took over the DOJ.
We sued Sen. John McClellan when he commanded us to get our address list of our southern Movement comrades. Our lawyers represented us for free for 17 years, convicted of Contempt of Congress, learned to sue people from Kunstler, Kinoy, and Stavis while we fought to stay out of prison.
After two strong women Judges, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Burnita Matthews, the first Judge ever appointed to the federal Bench who was born in the 1800's in Mississippi and who said in her memoirs it was one of her favorite cases, were instrumental in bringing our civil case and keeping us out of prison, Margaret (3 months)and Al (12 months). RBG wrote the best summary of what she called our "Odyssey."
Arthur Kinoy persuaded me to use all the ju jitsu suing tricks I had learned watching the old Union lawyers who set up the Center For Constitutional Rights while representing us. The lawyers fees we won from Ratliff helped pay for the condominium at 666 Broadway where the CCR has made good trouble for many years.
Arthur, Bill, and Mort all supported my getting a law license when I was 50 at NC Central Law School and I started suing the racist UNC-CH within weeks after I passed the Bar.
When it helps build the Moral Fusion Movement that Rev. Dr. William J. Barber began building in 2004, we used all the lessons we learned in the 60's. Cash Michaels, premier Black Journalist in NC, produced a film about my life — "Al, My Brother."
O'Linda Watkins McSurely, President of the Moore County NC NAACP and I got married in 2016; we are co-owners of Famous Women Publishers, LLC. Books available.