Return to Work: Wilcox County Alabama June 30-3, 1965

This is the second half of a lengthy letter I wrote to my friends, family and supporters while working with SCLC and SNCC in Wilcox County, Alabama during Voting Rights Summer 1965. I was a 19 yr old and my comments reflect my limited background as well as concern to respect the rules laid out for us by our county director Mr. Albert Turner. [See  parens and notes below the letter for additional explanations.]

Dan Harrell SCLC Field Director
Antioch Baptist Church 1966
copyright Bob Fitch Archives Stanford Libraries

“On Tuesday Sheriff Jenkins said we had to vacate the church which we had been using for an office. We refused until he moved us out at gunpoint. At this time he also told Charles Nettles, a local student leader, [and his father Sylvester] that [they] he couldn’t let the white civil rights workers who were living in his house stay any longer.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday things were a little quieter. We planned our strategy for the following week. On Sat. night I made it into Selma to the Chicken Shack for some dancing [drinking] and fun. Sunday was the 4thof July and the local crackers were in high spirits. Most of us spent the day with a family [Jesse and Margaret Brooks] out in Coy – wishing we were really independent.

Monday was a holiday so we all went to the Negro* playground. We swam, roasted hot dogs, and sang songs. It was hard to believe all the horror of life around us when I was in the pool teaching little kids to swim. The Negro pool is 1/4 the size of the white pool and there are 3 times as many Negroes and whites in the area.

Bessie Munden Playground aka “Negro Playground”

I got up at 5:30 a.m. Tuesday and headed out for Boiling Springs. We had to get the folks to register these next five days because we won’t be given any more days until August. I walked over 10 miles of cow pasture with a local Negro and spoke with people about voter registration. That evening we had a student mass meeting and organized the kids to canvass the area the next day. We were quite successful in Boiling Springs and sent 5 carloads of folks to Camden the next day.

On Wednesday, I worked in Pine Apple. It is a small area – most of the Negroes work in the white man’s sawmill. They were scared and lied to us. It was a very discouraging day. [In my letter I did not mention the warm reception I received at the end of the day at local activists Bob and Georgia Crawford’s home while visiting my boyfriend Bob who stayed there.]

Thursday I spent a good, long day in Arlington. We walked about 20 miles and visited about 30 homes. The people in this isolated community were apprehensive but anxious to learn more about registration. I recruited some local people to show me around and help me canvass. We’ve found our luck is usually better if neighbor speaks to a neighbor about the subject. The next day several carloads of people went to the courthouse [to register] from this area.

Thursday night Gov. Wallace spoke in Camden. No Negroes or civil rights workers were present because Wallace had hundreds of his “goon squad” protectors with him. After he left, two people in a car going out to Coy were shot at by city policemen for no reason. Incidentally, I was supposed to have been in that car, but I stayed at the Academy.

Today, Friday July 8th.  I went to the Arlington area again with a Negro boy [Robert Powell] and girl, and a white male SCOPE worker. We were walking along Highway 5 when we noticed a white man in a pickup truck with a shotgun on a rack slowing down. We kept on walking and he turned around and came up behind us. He tried to run over us but we jumped into a ditch. After he tried it a few more times we turned around and headed into a Negro café. We tried to call the Academy but that line was busy. The woman who owned the place was so excited and upset that she made us leave before we could get the call through. We ran and hid in the woods. Our friend had recruited his buddy by this time and was cruising back and forth in front of where we were hiding. The Negro boy changed shirts with the white boy and went to phone again. Almost everywhere he stopped people were too afraid to even let him in the house; obviously someone has been threatening and harassing the people. He finally got the call through and after about an hour a staff car came for us.

Reunion of Wilcox County field workers Robert Powell & Maria Gitin

I wasn’t particularly scared, just provoked. These kind of incidents are exactly what scare people out of registering. Today at the courthouse they [the registrar] were far too slow. Now they say they won’t give us tomorrow to file so we may have to demonstrate. I hope not. The whites are in a brutal mood. If we do demonstrate the SCOPE people will probably not be allowed to participate.

I wish could write more and more often, but I seldom get the chance. We move from house to house, day after day. I don’t stay at the Academy any more, but I can still get my mail here.

Once again I thank you for your prayers and letters.

From Camden with my prayers,

Joyce Brians (Maria Gitin)

www.thisbrightlightofours.com 

 

 

Negro: The preferred term of respect by African Americans at that time.

Lack of black names:We were expressly told not to identify any local blacks, particularly students, by name because they would suffer the consequences where we were gone. Although we were on a first name basis at the times, looking back I am very sorry now that I can only name a my brothers and sisters in courage who identified themselves to me years later. High school student Robert Powell more than once protected me and showed me how to survive in his community. I often wonder were we as kind and as open hearted as we thought we were or did we seem arrogant and ignorant of what they had endured before we arrived? Did they realize how much we did know about their heroic struggle?  Did they know we were considered the ‘Mop up crew’ of the civil rights voting struggle, as Andy Young referred to us at Orientation?  Did they expect us to stay and continue the fight? Dan Harrell asked us to stay but the SNCC students from Selma told us to leave.

Reflections: Arrest & Return to Work Camden, AL June 30, 1965

This is one of a series of letters I wrote to friends, family and supporters while doing field work for Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in Wilcox County Alabama as a college student volunteer. How have things changed? How have they stayed the same?

June 30, 1965                                                                                      Camden, Alabama

Dear Family and Friends,

On Monday, June 28,1965 at 11:00 a.m., I was at the residence of Charles Nettles. I looked out the window and saw a Lane Butane truck [KKK] parked by Antioch Baptist Church. There was a white man by the truck holding a large stick in his hand. There were a large number of Negro* children in front of the church, so I ran across the road to see what was happening. Some of the little girls threw their arms around me and I hugged them and told them to go on home.

Then I went on into the church. Most of the SCOPE staff was sitting in the font pews. Mayor Albritton was there with several policemen and posse men with guns. I sat down with the others and they asked me my name, age and whether or not I was a paid staff member. I replied no to the last question.

Antioch Baptist Church where we were arrested

Antioch Baptist Church, Camden AL June 1965
Photo by John Worcester

Then they asked us to get in the police cars. Eighteen arrests were made at this time. When we arrived [at the jail] they asked us to line up. The boys were asked, one by one, to put their hands against the wall while a policeman frisked them for concealed weapons. One Negro boy [Don Green, SCOPE worker], who was standing right in front of me, had a small pocket knife in his stocking. The policeman jerked it out, handed it to another man and pushed the boy into the hallway so forcefully that he hit the wall. Then policemen said to book him on a concealed weapons charge. When it came time for the girls to be frisked the policeman took great delight in running his hands up and down as he told us we had nothing to fear. One by one they checked our names off and sent us upstairs to a small cell.

For a short time we all stayed in one cell. There were five white girls [me, Connie Turner and Ann Nesbitt of SCOPE, Judy and Sheri of SNCC], one white man and fourteen Negro men. I had to go to the bathroom so they turned their heads, but it was embarrassing for all of us.

After a while they asked all the ‘colored’ men to step out. They put them in a large cell across the hall from us. Then they took Mike Farley, the one white man, into a cell one away from us girls, on the same side.

We sat on the two bunks and talked. A little before 1:30 we heard some commotion in Mike’s cell. I heard loud noises like someone was being punched and falling against the cell wall. Mike was yelling. This continued for a short time – maybe 3 or 4 minutes. I was sick with fear and revulsion at what I could imagine happened to him. We joined hands and I prayed very hard.

After a long time Mike yelled down to us. He said that the guard had made Crow, his white southern cell mate, beat him. He said he felt like his head was broken and that he needed a doctor badly. We tried to offer encouragements but there wasn’t much we could say.

Mike Farley age 17 after being beaten in face and on head in Camden Jail

A few minutes after the beating the jailer came and took Connie Turner out. Shortly after [without returning her] he came and got me. He said “I wish I wasn’t taking you to the firehouse” He followed me down the stairs [with a gun in my back]. and I didn’t say anything more to him. I went into the firehouse and sat down next to Connie. There were several posse men and policemen standing around. John Worcester [one of the white seminarians]and we discussed possibilities of bail. There weren’t any funds for our county at that time. One of the posse men had a jar with some clear liquid in it [Wilcox was a dry county]. He asked both Connie and I to smell it. It was sweet and alcoholic. We said we hadn’t smelled anything like that before and they all laughed. Connie and I returned to our cell together under the supervision of the policemen.

Around 4:30 they [black inmate trustees] brought us five plates of beans and cornbread. We ate some of it then most of us passed the remainder of our food to O.T , a psychotic man in the cell next to us. I couldn’t eat anything.

We tried to lie on the bunks with two on one and three on the other but it was hot and sticky. The toilet didn’t work and urine overflowed onto the floor. The cell was filthy dirty. The water in the sink didn’t work so our only access to water was the hot shower. When we finally decided to try to sleep we dragged one mattress onto the floor. Two of us lay on the floor, one on the top bunk, and two on the bottom. They didn’t turn out the lights so we had to unscrew the light bulb.

Around 11 o’clock Mike yelled to us that he thought Crow was going to beat him again. He asked us to arouse the guard. We thought perhaps there was some way to talk Crow out of it so we hesitated. But as Mike’s voice grew more urgent and we heard a few sound slaps, we began pounding on the cell wall with our fists and shoes. Mike yelled, “Guard, guard.” It took several minutes before the jailer arrived. We couldn’t hear what happened after that – we could only hear loud voices.

I was numb with anxiety and pain from an old back injury. My main concern was for Mike and the people on the outside…who could know what kind of harassment the local folk were getting, with all their leaders in jail? I finally fell asleep from exhaustion around 3 a.m. At 5 a.m I awoke to find a black hand stroking my hair and my face. It was O.T. in the cell next door. I tried to move my head further away from the bars but there wasn’t room enough so I got up again and paced the floor.

At 5:30 a.m. they brought us breakfast. It consisted of 3 biscuits, a strip of bologna, and some imitation syrup. None of us had much stomach for it. The trustees kept coming round behind our cell and looking through the bars and reaching their hands in. It made it rather difficult to go to the bathroom or take a shower. I was so revolted that I couldn’t even speak to them.

By 11:30 they took Connie, Anne and myself out of our cell. We were then driven by Officer Sanders over to Mayor Albritten’s gas station. We three girls went in and talked with the Mayor.  He then asked us our names and ages and where we went to school. Then he gave us a fatherly lecture on how we shouldn’t hand out boycott handbills [because it is a felony in Alabama and will ruin your chances to go back to school]. We, in fact, had not been handing out anything at all [although a boycott was in progress]. We were released. Anne returned to the church immediately [to begin typing up affidavits for the FBI and incident reports for SCLC]. Connie and I first took showers at the Academy and then returned to the Church. I immediately went down to the Wilsons Quarter when I am in charge of the voter registration program. I went from house to house telling people of my experience [and urging them to register to vote].

….more soon

*Negro was the preferred term of respect by African Americans at that time.

For more about my experience and that of my coworkers read: “This Bright Light of Ours: Stories from the Voting Rights Fight.”  www.thisbrightlightofours.com

Pondering Progress

With David Colston, Robert Powell and the Lawson brothers, Selma Jubilee 2014

 

In recent conversations, someone asked again what I thought we accomplished and what we did not.  In this 1988 journal entry, I wrote something that still feels true today:  People ask what was it like?  Everyone and their sister is writing MLK and Civil Rights Movement retrospectives.  “Mississippi Burning” glamorizes the Movement. The Movement.  The Movement meant everything, everybody: opportunity, equality, peace and freedom. It meant housing, education, jobs. It meant cleaning up or tearing down slums, an end to the problems of violence, alcoholism and hard drugs.

It meant integration – now a dirty word to many. It meant celebrating your roots yet accepting we are all one. It didn’t mean having quotas for “people of color”, African Americans – it meant everyone was seen so equally that nobody would even consider race as a qualification or disqualification for anything.  It meant media didn’t use qualifiers for non-white, non-male descriptions. Eg. “Tom Jacobs, black male age 24” v. “Tom Jacobs age 24.”

We will all be all brothers and sisters who love, respect and encourage each other. We wouldn’t only be there for ‘our’ people.  We would each each other’s food and celebrate each other’s holidays (and it wouldn’t be called appropriation because we’d be doing it together with the cultural group leading).  We planned to turn America into a world leader in brotherhood, political action and volunteerism. That meant we would create with our own hands and voices whatever we needed to fulfill this very American dream.

The Movement intended to shake the political system so that the wealthy, selfish, bigoted people would fall down like rotting fruit. We’d elect the young, the bright, the inspired. We dreamed of a new Kennedy and King, not caring what they looked like but how they stood up for those values. That’s what the Movement meant back then. We didn’t know we were dreamers, we believed this was possible. And that’s what kept us going.

EM PARRISH DAY CARE CENTER – KIDS WELL CARED FOR CENTER DESERVES DONATIONS

Wilcox County Freedom Fighters

Mylka Hayden, Isaiah Lore, Richard Chatman, Torrence Phillips, Jamarion Wright

March 2010Named for Elizabeth M. Parrish who was fired from her teaching position, along with her husband Lawrence Parrish and many other Camden Academy teachers who supported the students in their fight for school equality. Camden public schools today are legally integrated but no white children attend public school after the 4th grade. De facto segregation continues. Due to lack of cooperative economics and a depressed tax base, both white private schools and majority black public schools suffer low test scores. Despite these disadvantages, children at this pre-school are well- cared for by Director Gloria McDole and her dedicated staff. The children are lively, intelligent, interested in learning and as you can see, absolutely adorable.

Donations to purchase supplies, food, toys and educational tools may be sent to:

EM Parrish Day Care

PO Box 370

Camden AL 36726

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This Bright Light of Ours for first time in Watsonville April 25th as part of Vote! Exhibit and Celebration

VOTING RIGHTS EXHIBIT & PRESENTATIONS WITH PAJARO VALLEY ARTS

Vote! Your Vote is Your Voice / ¡Vote!  Su Voto es Su Voz, is an exhibit of art and historic artifacts with films and educational programs about historic and current voting rights issues, to run April 3-May 26, 2019 at Pajaro Valley Arts gallery, 37 Sudden Street, Watsonville, CA 95076 

Thursday April 25th 6-8 PM This Bright Light of Ours: Stories from the Voting Rights Fight – A special presentation 

NOTE SPECIAL LOCATION: Watsonville Civic Building Community Room (4th Floor)

As part of Pajaro Valley Arts “Vote! Your Voice is Your Vote” exhibit, former Watsonville resident and nationally known author and speaker, civil rights veteran Maria Gitin will present historic images and stories from the grassroots activists of rural Alabama in the 1965 struggle for voting rights. Gitin worked in and will cover the less known but violent period of the Civil Rights Movement following the March to Montgomery and prior to President Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965. A freshman at San Francisco State College, Gitin felt called to action after witnessing violent state troopers attack peaceful voting rights demonstrators in Selma, Alabama. She joined a summer voter registration and education project along with 400 other college students. After training in Atlanta, from dignitaries including Martin Luther King Jr. himself, she was assigned to rural Wilcox County where the majority African American citizens were attacked, fired and arrested for simply attempting to register to vote. Gitin spent the summer working and walking with courageous local Black activists and sometimes running from the Ku Klux Klan. Her memoir of that summer, “This Bright Light of Ours: Stories from the Voting Rights Fight” was published by University of Alabama Press in 2014. Since that time, Gitin has presented more than fifty times including as keynote speaker for the US Army Presidio of Monterey, King County Washington, the National Park Service in Selma and Emory University. This is her first slide show presentation in Watsonville. 
  
More about Vote! Your Voice is Your Vote/ ¡Vote! Su Voto es Su Voz Exhibit and presentations 

Originally co-imagined with Bob Fitch, I’m honored to serve as both curator and presenter of this important exhibit.   Vote! seeks to educate, inspire, and develop greater interest in the nonpartisan democratic process. We draw on the involvement of current and former Watsonville residents who wein the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s and Chicano Voting Rights action of the 1980’. We will share our experiences through art, educational panels, and film.  Selections of Bob Fitch photos and Maria Gitin’s civil rights movement archives illustrate their experience as young voting rights workers in Alabama. Artifacts from Santa Cruz County Elections Clerk Gail Pellerin and Watsonville City Clerk Beatriz Vasquez Flores will be on display. A visual timeline developed by local artists guides visitors through voting rights history. Contemporary art work by regional artists highlights current events and responds to the question: What does the right to vote mean to me?

All events are free, bilingual and appropriate for students as well as adults.  Contributions to Pajaro Valley Arts free bilingual programs are always welcome. Sponsorship opportunities are available.

For interviews and information about the exhibit and educational programs:
Maria Gitin msgitin@mariagitin.com

www.pvaarts.org  or call the gallery: 831.722.3062

Jkt_Gitin_final cover

Selma: The Bridge to the Ballot

Come share in the experience of young African American leaders and participants in the Selma Movement of 1963-65.  This documentary features dear friends Bettie Mae Fikes, Charles A Bonner and other courageous youth.

Presented by Watsonville Film Festival http://watsonvillefilmfest.org and Pajaro Valley Arts https://pvarts.org/vote-your-voice-is-your-vote-vote-su-voto-es-su-voz-2/ https://pvarts.org/vote-your-voice-is-your-vote-vote-su-voto-es-su-voz-2/ free and open to all in the Community Room (4th floor) Civic Building, 275 Main Street, Watsonville. Thursday April 4, 2019 7:00-9:00 PM

This 40 minute documentary film from the Southern Poverty Law Center is narrated by Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer, The Bridge to the Ballot is a crucial reminder that each of us has the ability to bring about powerful social change and will help inspire young people and communities across the nation to exercise their right to participate in our democracy. The documentary features the young students in the fight for voting rights in Selma, Alabama. They and their teachers stood up against injustice despite facing intimidation, arrests and violence. By organizing and marching these lesser known change-makers influenced one of the most significant victories of the civil rights era. Those who participated in civil rights work in the South will be recognized.

Double feature with: Willie Velasquez: Su Voto es Su Voz  a 53 minute PBS Film about the Southwest Voter Registration and Education Project (SVREP) – Willie Velásquez: Your Vote Is Your Voice tells the story of a grass-roots activist who mobilized Latinos into a movement that permanently altered the American political landscape. Filmed in Southwest Texas, this documentary features the organization that trained some Watsonville activists to organize and register voters at time of Gomez v Watsonville. Those who participated in voter registration will be recognized.

Wilcox and Selma Civil Rights featured in Voting Rights Exhibit April-May 2019

Postcard-Final-1024x563PAJARO VALLEY ARTS ANNOUNCES VOTING RIGHT EXHIBITION
We are delighted to invite all to attend the free, bilingual, exhibit and series of events devoting to Voting Rights. It is an honor to serve as curator of this important exhibit dedicated to the memory of civil rights photographer Bob Fitch.

Vote! Your Vote is Your Voice / ¡Vote!  Su Voto es Su Voz, is an exhibit of art and artifacts with films and educational programs about historic and current voting rights issues, to run April 3-May 26, 2019.  The public is invited to the opening reception Sunday April 7th, 2-4 PM, Pajaro Valley Arts gallery 37 Sudden Street, Watsonville, CA.

Originally co-imagined by Bob Fitch and Maria Gitin, Vote! Your Vote is Your Voice/ ¡Vote! Su Voto es Su Voz seeks to educate, inspire, and develop greater interest in the nonpartisan democratic process. Detailing the involvement of Monterey Bay residents in voting rights issues, current and former Watsonville residents who were active in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s and Chicano Voting Rights action of the 1980’s share their experiences through art, educational panels, and film.  Selections of Bob Fitch photos and Maria Gitin’s civil rights movement archives illustrate their experience as young voting rights workers in Alabama. Artifacts from Santa Cruz County Elections Clerk Gail Pellerin and Watsonville City Clerk Beatriz Vasquez Flores will be on display. A visual timeline developed by local artists guides visitors through voting rights history. Contemporary art work by regional artists highlights current events and responds to the question: What does the right to vote mean to me?

All events are free, bilingual and appropriate for students as well as adults.  Contributions to Pajaro Valley Arts free bilingual programs are always welcome. Sponsorship opportunities are available.

For interviews and information about the exhibit and educational programs:
Maria Gitin msgitin@mariagitin.com

For more information on the gallery: Judy Stabile, Curator stabilejud@aol.com

www.pvaarts.org  or call the gallery: 831.722.3062

PVA Vote! Confirmed Events

 

All events are free, open to the public, suitable for students and adults, and ADA compliant.

Thursday April 4, 2019   7:00-9:00 PM 
Voting Rights Films with Watsonville Film Festival – Watsonville Civic Center Community Room (4thfloor)
            Watsonville Vote: Summer in the City: 18 second PSA made by Watsonville Student interns with Beatriz Flores, City Clerk
            Selma: The Bridge to the Ballot   40 minute film from the Southern Poverty Law Center
Narrated by Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer, The Bridge to the Ballot is a crucial reminder that each of us has the ability to bring about powerful social change and will help inspire young people and communities across the nation to exercise their right to participate in our democracy. The documentary features the young students in the fight for voting rights in Selma, Alabama. They and their teachers stood up against injustice despite facing intimidation, arrests and violence. By organizing and marching these lesser known change-makers influenced one of the most significant victories of the civil rights era. Those who participated in civil rights work in the South will be recognized.
Willie Velasquez:Su Voto es Su Voz– 40 min. PBS Film about the Southwest Voter Registration and Education Project (SVREP) – Willie Velásquez: Your Vote Is Your Voicetells the story of a grass-roots activist who mobilized Latinos into a movement that permanently altered the American political landscape. Filmed in Southwest Texas, this documentary features the organization that trained some Watsonville activists to organize and register voters at time of Gomez v Watsonville.  Those who participated in voter registration will be recognized.

April 3 – May 26, 2019 Exhibit Dates

Pajaro Valley Arts Gallery
37 Sudden Street, Watsonville, CA 95076
PVA Gallery open Wednesday through Sunday
11:00am to 4:00pm.

Historic and contemporary art and artifacts depict the struggle for voting rights in the South and here in Watsonville. Featured photographs by Bob Fitch, Matt Herron and Kathryn Mayo are accompanied by artifacts Maria Gitin’s experience as a teenage civil rights worker in Alabama. Art responding to the question: What do voting rights mean to me? Is on display and available for purchase.

Sunday April 7, 2019 2-4 PM
Opening Reception
Pajaro Valley Arts Gallery
37 Sudden Street, Watsonville, CA 95076

All are invited. There will be a very short program at 3 PM. Refreshments will be served.

Thursday April 11th7:00-9:00 PM 
“Councilwoman” Watsonville Film Festival in partnership with Pajaro Valley Arts

Watsonville Civic Community Room (4thfloor)

Before AOC, there was Carmen Castillo. “Councilwoman” is the inspiring story of Carmen Castillo, an immigrant Dominican housekeeper in a Providence hotel who wins a seat in City Council, taking her advocacy for low-income workers from the margins to city politics.

 

 

Sunday April 14th 2-3:30 
Maria Gitin Curator’s Talk- Guided Tour with Q & A in the Gallery

Maria Gitin and Bob Fitch envisioned this exhibit prior to Fitch’s 2016 death. Gitin will discuss how this exhibit developed in tandem with Pajaro Valley Arts as well her own history as “one of the white kids” who came South when Dr. King called on college students to assist with voter registration in 1965. This will be an informal event with opportunities to ask questions and make comments.

Thursday April 18, 6-8 PM
Florecer De La Mujer
Watsonville Civic Center Community Room (5th floor Civil Center)

Moderator: Shirley Castillo, MSW,

Panelists: Cruz Gomez, Raquel Mariscal, Shirley Flores Munoz, Naomi Quinonez,
Odelia Galvan Rodriguez, Rosie Murillo

Don’t miss this historic gathering of some of the original Latina community organizers who laid the ground work for the Southwest Voter Registration campaign (SVREP) and eventually the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) redistricting lawsuitGomez v Watsonville.  Successful plaintiff Cruz Gomez is traveling from her home in Mexico to make a rare appearance.

Thursday April 25th 6-8 PM This Bright Light of Ours: Stories from the Voting Rights Fight
Civil rights veteran Maria Gitin shares historic images and stories from grassroots workers in the nonviolent army that risked their lives for voting rights. NAACP Members and regional Civil Rights Veterans will be recognized. Discussion, Q &A., Book signing.

Signed copies of “This Bright Light of Ours: Stories from the Voting Rights Fight” will be available for sale with proceeds to Pajaro Valley Arts.

Saturday May 18th 2-4 PM   Landmark Voting Rights Victory: Gomez V Watsonville
Watsonville Civic Center Community Room 4thFloor
Moderator: Samuel Torres Jr, former Santa Cruz County Counsel
Panelists: Paule Cruz Takash, Anthropologist and Watsonville Chronicler; Daniel Dodge, MALDEF paralegal on Gomez v Watsonvilleand former Mayor Karina Cervantez, former Mayor and UCSC Doctoral Candidate

Participant-witnesses and historians detail how the Gomez v Watsonville case came about, how it was fought and won. Panelists will discuss their personal experiences and historic perspectives including contemporary impact

S_902_23_JesseEthelBrooks copy

Jesse Brooksr and his daughter Ethel Brooks, Freedom Fighters. Bob Fitch photo 1966 @ Stanford University Archives.