Sue (Lorenzi) Sojourner
(1941-2020 In Memory)

MFDP, Mississippi, 1964-69
Web Sites:
     Thunder of Freedom

Thunder of Freedom (Holmes County, MS movement)
Mrs. Hamer Speaks photo exhibit brochure
Some People of That Place photo exhibit brochure
Got To Thinking... The Movement in Holmes Co, MS

August 1964 through august 1965 for the board of trustees of the Holmes County Community Center at Mileston. August 1965 through august 1969 for the Holmes County Freedom Democratic Party (FDP), living in pecan grove and balance due, two black neighborhoods in Lexington, the county seat.

Since 1996, I've lived and worked in Duluth, Minnesota in a housing cooperative of nearly 40 artists. Being surrounded by artists, in a building with a public art gallery, has been critical to my realizing my artist-my photographer. When I moved here from DC, I was seeking a place to write the book I'd been carrying in my head, heart, and in many boxes for 32 years. I needed to organize and complete my writings on the work I'd witnessed and been part of in the '60s when my husband Henry and I spent five years as white "outside agitators" in the local civil rights Movement in one Mississippi county — Holmes.

I wanted to publish the words of the local leaders that I'd taken down in the midst of the struggle — to put together the story of their organizing achievement. Strong, growing, they lived through real danger and fear, survived and built one of the most effective grassroots Movements in the state. They'd changed their lives — and not just for each individually, but for all their people.

By fall 2003, I'd completed a third of a first-draft book manuscript, Listening: The Local People Speak or The Movement and Their Lives — Turnbow, Carnegie, Hayes, and the First 14: Getting Organized in Holmes Co., Mississippi, 1963-1967. I'd also become recognized as a photographer, based on my 100s of black-and- white stills of Movement and community people in Holmes County.

During our first years in Holmes — the most dangerous ones of 1964-65 — survival was as much our work as voter registration, the community center, school integration, and creating the Freedom Democratic Party. For workir organizers, taking photos was not a priority — staying alive was of greater interest. So not until the last year of our five in the county did I make the images to document the times and illustrate our someday book.

My first public works are several documentary photography exhibits I've created and shown in art museums, elementary schools, community centers, storefronts, colleges, and universities.

"THE SOME PEOPLE OF THAT PLACE: 1960s Holmes Co., Mississippi — The Local Black People and Their Civil Rights Movement" has been on tour with more than 60 photographs, documents and text.

First produced in 1999 by the U. of Minnesota Duluth's Tweed Museum of Art, I expanded and made it tour-worthy to take it "home" to Holmes in 2001. Displayed there and in Jackson and DC, it starts a second tour in 2004 with a showing for Black and Women's History Months at the U. of Wisconsin Superior. It's available for scheduling by contacting me.

A smaller exhibit — "GOT TO THINKING...How the Black People of 1960s Holmes Co., Mississippi Organized Their Civil Rights Movement" — was commissioned bya nonprofit national training center for organizers in domestic violence intervention. On permanent display in their downtown Duluth offices.

In 2004, I continue writing Listening: ... while also focusing my lenses on the people in today's African-American, peace, labor, feminist, and lesbian Movements in the Duluth area. In addition, trees, rocks, and water call to my camera, though usually as individuals rather than in landscapes. As always, I'm drawn to people, their faces, their whole bodies, living their lives. Making images of all these Beings, then telling their names is my way of honoring their existence.

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(Labor donated)