Gregory Orr

CORE, 1964-65, Mississippi, Alabama, New York
Current Residence: Charlottesville, VA

Return to Hayneville

I've written about my experiences in the Movement — more mis-adventures than not — in a memoir, THE BLESSING (Council Oak Books, 2002), where they form three or four of the last chapters in the book. I've become a poet since then — my experiences working in Mississippi were an outgrowth of working up North earlier, but the misadventures (jail, beatings, kidnapped at gunpoint by vigilantes in rural Alabama, six days solitary in Hayneville, Alabama) — they showed me that my social skills were not adequate to the tasks of social activism and after that summer I turned toward poetry as a different way to change the world.

I feel formed by those experiences in ways that are very complicated and which I thought about a fair bit when I wrote the memoir, and am thinking about today as I respond to the invitation to be part of this site, which I only learned about today.

Copyright ©
(Labor donated)