Abby Young

AFSC, 1966, South Carolina
Current Residence: Santa Cruz, CA

Those Who Came, Journal from AFSC Voter Registration Project Sumter, SC, 1966

A powerful Civil Rights Conference held during my freshman year at Pomona College brought major leaders from the South to speak to our primarily white campus in Claremont, California. The year was 1963 and these leaders were traveling the country to bring stories from the South and the Civil Rights Movement to students and the wider public. Their stories of courage and spirit in the face of hatred and violence shattered my sheltered upbringing overnight and uprooted me completely.

I became very active in the in the Civil Rights Movement from that time on, working in the urban Black communities in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and focusing my college studies on Race, Black History, and Political Change.

But I had never been to the South. A friend working with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in Georgia encouraged me to come. I knew from his letters how difficult and dangerous this work was. I also knew that it was time to do my part. So in the summer of 1966, between my junior and senior years, I left for Sumter, South Carolina to join a summer Voter Registration Project sponsored by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). I kept a journal during the short time I was there, and excerpts from that time are remembered in my journal: Those Who Came.

In the intervening years,I have continued to work on social justice issues as well as international education. I will be starting a graduate program in 2023 on Social Change with the Starr King School for the Ministry.

Thank you all for your contributions to racial justice. I am grateful for this community of friends and kindred spirits working for justice and social change


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