Representatives of families featured in the book are welcomed and recognized at all events.
Thursday March 6th 6:00-8:00 PM
A Celebration of Civil Rights with Author Maria Gitin
Lena Powell Convention Center 211 Claiborne Street, Camden, Alabama
Maria Gitin, a veteran of the Summer of 1965 voting rights movement in Wilcox County, will present a memorial slideshow, read and speak about her new book “This Bright Light of Ours: Stories from the Voting Rights Fight”, University of Alabama Press. Rev Dr Lewis V Baldwin King Scholar, Author and Camden native, will offer the invocation. Food and beverages will be hosted by the Wilcox Section of the NCNW. Book sales will be conducted by Black Belt Treasures. Free and open to all.
Saturday March 8, 5-7 PM
This Bright Light of Ours, Author Maria Gitin to Appear at Selma Jubilee Author’s Corner – St James Hotel, Water Avenue, Selma, AL
University of Alabama Press is pleased to announce that Maria Gitin, author of the new civil rights memoir and history, “This Bright Light of Ours: Stories from the Voting Rights Fight” will be featured in the Selma Jubilee “Authors’ Corner” Saturday March 8, 5-7 PM. This annual event features civil rights authors. The book will be available for purchase and Maria Gitin will be available for signing.
Sunday March 9 -Selma Jubilee March Special Notice –
Meet at 1 PM outside Brown Chapel, to walk with Wilcox County Freedom Fighters 2:00-3:00 PM
The annual bridge re-enactment ceremony, commemorating Bloody Sunday, will take place this year on Sunday March 9th. In addition to celebrity guests including Lou Gossett Jr, there will be a large contingent of activists and former civil rights workers from Wilcox County, AL. This will be the largest gathering of Wilcox County marchers since the original event March 7, 1965 during which hundreds of nonviolent voting rights demonstrators were tear gassed, beaten and trampled by officers on horseback. Many Wilcox County residents and former activists attend the Re-enactment march annually. This year, many are attending in commemoration of the publication of “This Bright Light of Ours: Stories from the Voting Rights Fight”, which contains the stories of more than thirty individuals and families who were active in the 1960′s voting rights movement. The group will meet at 1 PM across from Brown Chapel, under the “Wilcox County Freedom Fighters” banner. Many of the grassroots activists and the author will be available for interviews and photographs.
Monday March 10th 6-7 PM Rosa Parks Museum Auditorium, Montgomery AL
Maria Gitin, civil rights veteran and author of “This Bright Light of Ours”, Universite of Alabama Press will be joined Lewis V Baldwin, Camden native and Martin Luther King Scholar and author in a presentation, discussion and book signing. The two will discuss King’s influence on their lives as teenagers, and how that influence affected their life choices. The audience will then be invited to ask questions related to the topic: Where do we go from here? Both authors will read and discuss their own recent works. Open to the public.
Tuesday March 11th 6-7 PM “The Rankins Files” Radio Interview
Deborah Rankins will interview author and civil rights veteran Maria Gitin and Joy Crawford-Washington, whose grandparents kept a safe house for civil rights workers in Pine Apple, Alabama. The Crawford family is featured in Ms. Gitin’s new book about the Wilcox County Voting Rights Movement, ”This Bright Light of Ours” from University of Alabama Press.The Rankins Files, is a live broadcast on DIXIE 94.5 FM/WHOD heard in southwest Alabama, on the internet www.bamadixie.com and smart phone through the TUNEIN app.
Thursday March 13th 5:30-7:30 PM History Museum of Mobile, Mobile, AL
Author and civil rights veteran Maria Gitin will present an historic slide show, read and discuss her new book ”This Bright Light of Ours: Stories from the Voting Rights Fight,” University of Alabama Press. A reception and book signing will follow. All are welcome.
All Wilcox County Freedom Fighters, friends and family are welcome to attend the March 6th celebration in Camden and to march with us under the Wilcox County Freedom Fighter banner Sunday March 9th in Selma. I will also be with University of Alabama Press for “Meet the Author Book Signing” at the St. James Hotel Saturday March 8th 5-7 PM. See my book website: www.thisbrightlightofours.com for more details. We hope to see you there!
Now available online www.thisbrightlightofours.com See “Buy the Book” for options or order from your local independent bookstore. Published by University of Alabama Press.
To stay current with Maria Gitin & friends events and appearances, and to leave comments about the book, please visit www.thisbrightlightofours.com
Upcoming Events and Appearances
Saturday February 15th - Oakland, CA, Holy Names University Social Justice Forum, Voting Rights panel with civil right attorney Charles A Bonner and Watsonville Mayor Karina Cervantez. Register for this great conference: The Dream Lives On: A Call to Action http://www.hnu.edu/SocialJustice
Thursday February 20th Aptos, CA- 6-7:30 PM West Coast Book Launch, Reading, & Signing at Temple Beth El, 3055 Porter Gulch Rd, Free and open to the public with hosted reception.
Thursday March 6th Camden, AL — 6-7:30 PM Alabama Book Book Launch Celebration at the Lena Powell Convention Center 211 Claiborne Street in. Camden native son, Rev Dr LV Baldwin will come to give the invocation. Brief program with reading, historic slides and recognition of the 30+ families and individuals who contributed stories to the book. Free and open to the public with hosted reception, book sales and signing.
Sunday March 9th Selma, AL– Participate in the Selma Jubilee bridge re-enactment ceremony. Meet under the Wilcox County Freedom Fighters banner outside Brown Chapel. Families may make T-shirts or posters with family and civil rights hero photo on them. Please spread the word to everyone who lived or worked in the Wilcox Movement.
Thursday, March 13th Mobile AL - 6:30 PM Museum of History, Book talk, signing and reception. 251-208-7246 or http://www.thisbrightlightofours.com
Thank you all! I am filled with gratitude for the many blessings of new and renewed friendship brought about by this book project. One of the most exciting was this: November 7-9th Vanderbilt Divinity School and African American & Diaspora Studies celebrated and honored the man still recalled as “LV” Baldwin, now author of numerous acclaimed books. [search Amazon "Lewis Baldwin in Books.] Baldwin was honored for 30 years of teaching, research, and scholarship devoted to American Religious History and the U.S. Civil Rights Movement by brilliant and well-known former students and colleagues from around the country, as well as family and friends. For a list of speakers and presenters, visit http://www.vanderbilt.edu/aframst/Event%20News
It was a tremendous honor and privilege to be invited to speak about Lewis’s childhood community, Camden, Alabama,Wilcox County and about the long and successful Freedom Fight. Among others, I read stories shared with me by Lewis’s friends Robert Powell, Betty Anderson and Gloria Jean McDole.
Please vist our new website and learn more about the forthcoming book
This Bright Light of Ours: Stories from the Voting Rights Fight: www.thisbrightlightofours.com and to learn about classroom and discounted advance orders, available now.
This blog was about the experiences of Maria Gitin (formerly Joyce Brians), a student civil rights worker with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) Summer Community Organization and Political Education (SCOPE) project in 1965 and stories of people that I met, lived and worked with in Wilcox County, AL. My completed book includes letters, notes and memories of a nineteen year old from California and return visits 40+ years later to gather stories of people who were or are related to the local leaders she worked with. Even though the book is 2014 publication date by University of Alabama Press, this blog will continue to be available to document the voting rights history of Wilcox, County Alabama, activities, conditions and needs in the region today. We welcome contributions from residents and former residents, students and other civil rights veterans of Wilcox County, Alabama. Thank you for your interest in this long-neglected segment of The Civil Rights Movement – Freedom Summer 1965.