Forty nine yrs ago, I didn’t know that my decision to respond to Dr. King’s call for students to work on the Summer Community Organization and Political Education (SCOPE) project directed by Hosea L Williams would send me to rural Wilcox County. As 19 year old freshman at San Francisco State College, I remember the excitement of getting a ride from Rev Cecil Williams – who had just returned from being beaten in Selma – as he drove us to the last Berkeley briefing before we drove to an intensive weeklong Orientation in Atlanta where we were trained to be civil rights workers. Williams was encouraging and welcoming of young white students who wanted to join the Freedom Fight. He was also an inspiring and informed trainer who let us know exactly how much danger we might face, as well as the imperative for white youth to join hands with black youth in this nonviolent fight for the right to vote. Rev Cecil Williams is a civil rights hero and community leader who continues to inspire. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to learn from him at such a formative stage in my life.
For more about Maria Gitin’s experience read her memoir: www.thisbrightlightofours.com