Giving Thanks to the Courageous Citizens of Wilcox County for Sharing your Stories with the World

Betty Robert Banner

Betty Anderson and Robert Powell, Camden Academy Activists

Sheryl Threadgill and the Lawsons at Selma Jubilee 2014

Sheryl Threadgill and the Lawsons at Selma Jubilee 2014

W. Kate Charley lived her life standing tall, telling the truth and having fun. She lives on in blessed memory.

W. Kate Charley lived her life standing tall, telling the truth and having fun. She lives on in blessed memory.


Lewis V Baldwin, Anthea Butler and Barbara A Holmes at Baldwin's Vanderbilt University Retirement Celebration 2014

Lewis V Baldwin, Anthea Butler and Barbara A Holmes at Baldwin’s Vanderbilt University Retirement Celebration 2014


John Matthews in Pine Hill

John Matthews shows Maria where he found her and other civil rights workers headed deep into the woods at dusk. Pine Hill, AL

SNCC Buddies Luke (Bob) Block, Maria Gitin and Charles (Chuck) Bonner 2005

SNCC Buddies Luke (Bob) Block, Maria Gitin and Charles (Chuck) Bonner 2005

I’m feeling extra grateful today for the contributions of more than 70 friends, families and supporters to the amazing success of “This Bright Light of Ours: Stories from the Voting Rights Fight.”  We have almost sold out the hard-bound first edition, thanks to your willingness to share your struggles, your pain and your laughter. Across the country, white students and adults alike tell me that they understand the history of racism and white privilege from a new perspective, and that they want to be part of eradicating injustice. African Americans, Latinos and others say, thank you for sharing these stories, our stories. Young students ask: Why didn’t we ever learn this in school?  Although marketed as a memoir, this is really your story, our story. Thank you today and always for your contributions.

Samuel supported Maria every page of the way on her journey back to Summer 1965

Samuel supported Maria every page of the way on her journey back to Summer 1965

Bruce Hartford, CORE, SCLC 1965 - invaluable historian of the Movement

Bruce Hartford, CORE, SCLC 1965 – invaluable historian of the Movement

Bob Fitch Photographer & Activist

Bob Fitch Photographer & Activist

Audio Recordings of SCLC SCOPE 50th Reunion Now Online

Thanks to Bruce Hartford for posting audio recordings our proceedings in Atlanta October 1-4, 2015. You may enjoy listening in on panels and discussion groups, and to our interdenominational Sunday morning Mass Meeting. The majority of participants were civil rights workers in 1965, some SCLC staff and a few family members and veterans from Mississippi Freedom Summer. There are wonderful stories and insights shared in the breakout discussion groups. Enjoy!

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Sunday AM Mass Meeting at 50th Anniversary Reunion

Sunday AM Mass Meeting at 50th Anniversary Reunion


Some emphasize big splits between the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) with its hierarchy headed primarily by black male ministers and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the more decentralized youth-led organization. In terms of structure and philosophy, there were many differences. Good articles on this topic can be found at but when it came to recruiting SCOPE (Summer Community Organizing and Political Education) project workers and to our work in the field, we were side by side, hand in hand. At least at my college, San Francisco State and in my county, Wilcox, AL

It’s not too late to register for our 50th anniversary reunion. Over one hundred civil rights veterans, friends and families will be there later this week. Oct 1-4th in Atlanta. Full or daily registration available: endorses SCOPE

See schedule: SCLC SCOPE 50th Anniversary Reunion Program

50th Anniversary of Voting Rights Struggle to be Celebrated in Atlanta Oct 1-4

All are welcome to register for the entire conference or at the daily rate at www.sclcscope50th.orgSCOPE button Daily rate includes Friday night banquet and Saturday evening reception at the King Memorial Site.

You want to be in that number for this upbeat, feel-good, reflective gathering. Register today! 100 grassroots voting rights Freedom Fighters – aged 69-90, their families, and local leaders are already registered. If you can’t attend, please click on the donate button at the registration site to help support others. Thank you!

Southern Christian Leadership (SCLC) Summer Conference on Community Organizing and Political Education (SCOPE)
50th Anniversary Reunion
Marriott Century Center
2000 Century Boulevard NE
Atlanta, GA 30345
October 1-4, 2015

Learn more about SCOPE SCLC History: 

Read personal accounts from the Voting Rights Summer of 1965: 

SCLC SCOPE 50th Anniversary Reunion Program

Thursday, October 1, 2015

4:00-6:00 p.m. Registration
Ballroom foyer

6:00-8:00 p.m. Opening Reception
Ballroom – separate registration for Reception Only online $35 For full conference registrants, all events are included.

Welcome: John Reynolds, Reunion Planning Committee Chair
Bernard Lafayette, SCLC Board Chairman

Refreshments and No-Host Bar
Reconnecting with old friends
Singing of freedom songs
Ending the evening with a friendship circle

Friday, October 2, 2015

9:00-9:30 a.m. Registration
Ballroom foyer

Continental breakfast

9:30-10:30 a.m. Introduction of Committee and Veterans Roll Call

10:30-11:00 a.m. Keynote Address: “Status of Voting Rights Then and Now” Bernard Lafayette and John Reynolds

11:00-12:30 p.m. Workshops: Sharing our Stories

Groups of 5-8 will meet to share their stories, experiences,
and how their Freedom Movement work affected their lives.
Each group will be audio taped for future history.

12:30-2:00 p.m. Lunch “on your own” (The hotel restaurant will have a buffet in addition to its regular menu.) There will be an opportunity for an optional peer-led roundtable discussion for those interested.

Maria Gitin will lead a roundtable “Writing Your Civil Rights Memoir” with civil rights veteran, author and editor Constance Curry

2:00-4:00 p.m. Workshops
Ballroom and Breakout Rooms

Groups of 5-8 will meet to discuss/assess the following topics from the perspective of 50 years. Each group will be audio taped for future history.

• Looking Back, Looking Forward: Evaluating our Work in the Movement – Facilitated discussion with Bruce Hartford

• Women in the Movement – Facilitated by Lula Joe Williams.
With Panel: Barbara Williams Emerson, Gwen Green

• How SCOPE Helped Change the Political Landscape in the South – Facilitated by Willie Bolden.

• Nonviolence: How Can It Be Used Today?
Panel: Bernard Lafayette and Diane Nash

4:00-6:00 p.m. Exhibits, Book Signing and Free Time

7:00-10:00 p.m. Hosea L. Williams Tribute Banquet

Tribute video
Dinner (with cash bar)
Remembrances of Hosea Williams by Gwen Green and JT Johnson
Music by members of The Freedom Singers
Close with friendship circle

Saturday October 3, 2015

9:00-9:30 a.m. Continental Breakfast

9:30-11:00 a.m. SCLC Leadership Panel – Moderated by John Reynolds
Panel: Willie Bolden, Lula Joe Williams and others

11:00-12:00 p.m. SCOPE Legacy Panel
Maria Gitin, Bruce Hartford, J. T. Johnson, Jo Freeman

12:00-2:00 p.m. Lunch “on your own”
Exhibits and Book Signing

1:00-2:00 p.m. “Martin Luther King and the Spirit of the 60’s”
Multi-media presentation by Lanny Kaufer (Location TBD)

2:00-3:30 p.m. Workshops: Challenges and Successes in SCLC and SCOPE
Ballroom and Breakout Rooms

Groups will discuss the grassroots challenges and successes in SCLC-SCOPE projects and campaigns. Each group will be audio taped for future history.

3:30-4:00 p.m. Groups to reconvene and report to the larger body

4:00-5:00 p.m. Remembrance of those who have passed
A Wall of Remembrance will be displayed throughout the Reunion.

Close with friendship circle

6:00-7:30 p.m. Reception at the Martin Luther King, Jr. National
Historical Site, Atlanta

Sunday October 4

9:00 a.m. Breakfast “on your own”

9:45-11:15 a.m. Mass Meeting and Non-denominational service
Ballroom led Rev. John Reynolds and local clergy

12:00 p.m. Lunch “on your own”

1:00-4:00 p.m. Tour of significant Civil Rights Movement sites

Those registered will be picked up at the hotel and returned
at the completion of the tour. The cost will be approximately
$40 per person.

At the conclusion of the program on Sunday, several participants will return to the counties where they worked during the SCOPE project fifty years ago. Groups are going to Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina.

Calling All SCLC SCOPE Veterans and their families to a 50th Anniversary Reunion in Atlanta Oct 1-4, 2015

For Details about the Reunion: visit

If anyone knows the whereabouts of the following people who worked in the South on the SCLC Summer Community Organization and Education (SCOPE) project please let them know that they are warmly welcome to join our gathering. One hundred are already registered. Highlights will include Veterans Roll Call, Memorial Circle, Workshop-Discussions, Music, Mass Meeting, panels with SCLC and SCOPE veterans and more.

SCLC SCOPE PROJECT ROSTER From the archives of John Worcester who recieved this in Wilcox County late June-early July 1965. These names are from a yellow legal pad with the same pencil handwriting for all names. Camden was a distribution center for several counties and home of Daniel Harrell SCLC SCOPE field director for 7 AL Counties. There are typos and errors but I have left them as written. John Worcester recalls that this list was to be used if there was some problem and relatives of volunteers had to be contacted, or if those on the list were harmed. Very few of these workers worked in Wilcox County and some may never have been in Wilcox at all. I have deleted their parents’ addresses for privacy.Except where otherwise noted, a small “Scope” was penciled to the left of each 1. Counties where they were assigned are under some names.

1. Terry Lamm  Monroe County [ Found in 2015 in Albuquerque]
family from Mission Hills, Kansas

2. Paul Harrison  Monroe County
from Westport, Connect.

3. Connie Turner Wilcox County
parents from Laguna Beach, CA and San Anselmo, CA

4. Lolita Katherine Jones – Geneva County [found in 2015 in Santa Barbara]

5. Nancy Nagel – Geneva County, parents in Van Ness (probably Van Nuys, CA)

6. Mary Pjerroed [? by last name – Geneva County

7. Mike Kane – Geneva County
from Los Angeles, Calif

8. Tom Leonard – Geneva County
from Oxnard, Calif

9. Pat Sweeney – Geneva County
Parents address: Edwards A.F.B., Calif (Air Force Base)

10. Diane Courtney – Geneva County
from Huntington Beach Calif

15. Larry Scott Butler – Barbour County
Parents in Clearfield, Pa.

16. David Hoon – Barbour County
Father Rev. Paul W Hoon, West Danville, Vermont

17. Dick Hutch – Barbour County
family in Nutley, N.J.

18. Jimmy Wilson – Barbour County

from Chicago

19. Geraldine Robinson – Barbour County
from Carslisle, Pa.

20. Robert Hilton Friedman – Barbour County
parents in Philadelphia, Penn.

21. G. Robert Smith – Barbour County
father is Arendtsville, Pa

22. R. Scott Chambers – Barbour County [ last known to be working in New Jersey]
father in Riverton, N.J.

23. Michael Laupheimer – Barbour County [lives in NYC as of 2015]
family in Westbury, N.Y.

24. John W. Davis – Clark County

Contact in Baltimore, Md.

25. Joan Fitzpatrick – Clark County
Contact in Kansas City Mo.

26. Mike Farley – Clark County [Mike was assigned to Clark but jailed with us in Wilcox and then went to Newberry SC. and was arrested again]

Originally from San Francisco, Calif.

27. Nance Westman – Clark County

from Richmond, Va.

28. Roosevelt Washington, STAFF, Clark County
Contact is listed in Forkland, Ala.

29. Tom Bauer – Monroe County

30. Bill Barnes – Monroe County [I am seeking this man as possible “Bill” from an incident in Wilcox]

31. Ann Nesbit [elsewhere spelled Nesbitt but one “t” is correct- she has been contacted in Southern California]

35. Bob Block, Wilcox SCLC SCOPE STAFF – He has been contacted in Arkansas

36. Sherry Thurbur (aka Charlotte or Shari) – Wilcox
Greenwich, Conn. [located in Port Isabelle, TX 2015]

37. Lester Marlin Core-Wilcox (but he did not stay or work in Wilcox)
Contact is in Marion, Ala.

38. missing name

39. Peggy Dobbie – Choctaw County

40. Judith Kline – Choctaw County

41. Clara Gregory – Choctaw County

42. Mike Van Lester – Choctaw County

43. Charlie Best – Choctaw County

44. Bond Perry – Choctaw County

Un-numberd and written in pen in upper corner of page:

Charley Henry – Monroe County

Joyce Bryans [this is my former name spelled incorrectly with no contact information Brians,now Maria Gitin ]

45. Dorothy Wright – Choctaw County

46. Judy Harmon – Wilcox County

West Coast Voting Rights Act 50th Anniversary Celebration


With his Honor Justice Cruz Reynoso and former Watsonville Mayor Daniel Dodge Sr at West Coast Voting Rights Act Celebration

With his Honor Justice Cruz Reynoso and former  at West Coast Voting Rights Act Celebration


With Daniel Dodge Sr, a field representative for Assemblyman Luis A. Alejo; Santa Cruz County resident Maria Gitin, a student civil rights activist during the 1960s; and Cruz Reynoso, former justice of the California Supreme Court. The Voting …

The Salinas Californian · ByTom Leyde · 6 hours ago
Thanks to organizers Juan Martinez and Sergio Sanchez for a wonderful gathering yesterday in Salinas, CA.
This Bright Light of Ours: Stories from the Voting Rights Fight,  University of Alabama Press 2014 is available from independent bookstores, and