This Bright Light of Ours Returns to Alabama this June

June 7th in Montgomery

June 6th in Selma

Since the publication of “This Bright Light of Ours” in 2014, Maria Gitin has offered more than 35 presentations at universities, bookstores, museums, churches and temples, community centers,  and nonprofit organizations. Her presentations include first hand testimony and photos from grassroots veterans of the 1965 civil rights movement. Her talks are energized with civil rights songs, questions and discussions and by the introduction of other civil rights veterans and their families. She is excited to return to Alabama for these two public presentations and to attend the Crawford family reunion. 
Tuesday June 7 noon-1:15 PM This Bright Light of Ours: Stories from the 1965 Voting Rights Fight in Wilcox County, Alabama
Book Talk with music, archival slides and stories Free and open to all.
Alabama Department of Archives & History
Milo B. Howard Auditorium
624 Washington Avenue
lorez Final book coverJkt_Gitin_finalMontgomery, AL 36130

 

Monday June 6 th 2-3:00 PM

The National Park Service, Selma Interpretive Center sponsors Maria Gitin at the Performing Arts Center 

1000 Selma Ave., Selma, AL 36701  www.thisbrightlightofours.com

 

Civil Rights Veterans Reflect on Fear, Courage, and Commitment

Edited from a transcript of an April 11, 2015 gathering of civil rights veterans, students and scholars at the Martin Luther King Jr. Education and Research Institute at Stanford University. Read the entire transcript at Veterans of the Civil Rights Movement website: http://www.crmvet.org/disc/1504_fcc.htm and watch the 11 minute video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2cz6vJnWZs&feature=youtu.be

Gradually I learn that even though I can’t see from any perspective but this one, (meaning my own), I can include other perspectives, understand that others have their own perspective, and each one is just and true as real as mine, even if we’re in disagreement. That’s a stretch of the heart muscle.” – Katherine Thanas, Abbott, Santa Cruz Zen Center

Civil Rights Veterans Gather Stanford MLK Institute April 2015

Civil Rights Veterans Gather Stanford MLK Institute April 2015

50 years of Fighting for Freedom Celebrated at Stanford MLK Institute

For myself, working in the Movement in the summer of ’65, going through experiences with my coworkers in SNCC and SCLC and the local people that I worked with in Wilcox County, Alabama stretched my heart muscle so much more than my brain. We had amazing orientations. By that time, voter registration project leaders had learned from CORE and SNCC, and their own experience. The SCLC SCOPE orientation was tremendous. We had workshops; we had great speakers: Hosea Williams, Bayard Rustin, Jimmy Webb, James Bevel and Martin Luther King himself. Septima Clark taught us how to sing. We had intensive orientation, and then suddenly we are plunged into this violently segregated environment, sharing the experience of being hated, reviled, shot at, arrested, in a very, very rural area.

I was assigned to Wilcox County Alabama. I was just 19 years old and trying to grapple with the reality of how dangerous it was. At first, I had so much trust and faith in my coworkers, our leaders and the people in the community. Before that summer, my sense of myself was that I was a weak, scared girl. That summer, I felt like I really became a woman.

It was so dramatic, the violence, the threats – I was afraid all the time. The boys, both the Black and white, always talked about how brave they were and “Oh no, they can’t do nothing to me.” I was just scared all the time. But because the local people were so brave, and they were protecting us, I had to act brave. But they were the courageous ones.

I didn’t know until I went back to write my book, This Bright Light of Ours: Stories from the Voting Rights Fight , that men in some of the familes who kept white kids were sitting up all night with shotguns while we slept. I had no idea at the time. They didn’t let us know that they had to keep up that level of protection to take in a white field worker. I honor those people. I owe them my life, literally, because people were trying to kill us.

Besides the locals, I witnessed incredible courage, role models in both SCLC and SNCC folks I worked with. I was fortunate to work with both groups, the respected reverends and the radical students. It was so exciting to be in the thick of these world changing events. The SNCC kids in Selma, especially Charles Bonner, really broke it down for me, in terms of theory. It was the beginning of my looking at social action critically. I suppose I could have done well to apply that learning in college but when I returned I was such a physical and emotional mess that it took me 15 more years to get a B.A. degree. My experience in the Movement, learning to see the sharecropper in Alabama not as somebody less than, but just somebody with a different perspective, different life experience – that was an invaluable lesson for me. You can learn from all people, not just people like yourself.

Discussion facilitated by Ron Bridgeforth. Other civil rights veterans included: Willie B. Wazir Peacock Wazir Peacock “Stand for Freedom” Video, Jimmy Rogers, Stu House, Kathleen Kolman, Mitchell Zimmerman, Bill Light and Roy Torkington.

“This Bright Light of Ours” to Shine in 2015 Martin Luther King Jr Celebrations

Sheryl Threadgill-Matthews brings BAMA kids to meet author Maria Gitin

Sheryl Threadgill-Matthews brings BAMA kids to meet author Maria Gitin

Save the date for talks in Seattle, Monterey and Palo Alto. Check back for details in a few weeks.

January 13, 2015: Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle WA 

7 PM This Bright Light of Ours – Author Book signing event   http://www.elliottbaybook.com/

January 14, 2015: Open Windows School, Bellevue WA – MLK student assembly speaker

January 15, 2015: MLK Seattle Celebration 33rd Anniversary, King County, Seattle WA

The Voting Rights Fight, Keynote speaker for community celebration honoring Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday. For more information:http://www.mlkseattle.org/

January 22, 2015: YWCA Monterey County

This Bright Light of Ours: Presentation, reading and book signing.  Details forthcoming.

January 28, 2015: Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute, Stanford University

This Bright Light of Ours: Presentation, reading and book signing Details forthcoming.

Temple Beth El Book Launch Celebration

Temple Beth El Book Launch Celebration

Praise for Maria Gitin Presentations

Thank you! thank you! Thank you! Your contribution to the “Voice of Conscience: Civil Rights, Post-Civil Rights and the Future Freedom Struggle” was the highlight. You are a remarkable friend and colleague. As Director of the Program in African American and Diaspora Studies at Vanderbilt and on behalf of the program committee we thank you. – Victor D Anderson, Vanderbilt University

I learned a good bit from your presentation. I referenced you in the final chapter of” A Child Shall Lead Them.” Your book will be a valuable resource, and will be one I will want to use in my King course. – Rufus Burrow Indiana Professor of Christian Thought and Theological Ethics, Christian Theological Seminary

Maria’s passion, compassion, and love for the people of Wilcox County shines through in her lecture. I count it a privilege to meet someone who is so genuine and is part of living history.DeeAnn, student University of South Alabama

“This Bright Light of Ours” to Shine in 2015 Martin Luther King Jr Celebrations

Sheryl Threadgill-Matthews brings BAMA kids to meet author Maria Gitin

Sheryl Threadgill-Matthews brings BAMA kids to meet author Maria Gitin

Save the date for talks in Seattle, Monterey and Palo Alto. Check back for details in a few weeks.

January 13, 2015: Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle WA 

7 PM This Bright Light of Ours – Author Book signing event   http://www.elliottbaybook.com/

January 14, 2015: Open Windows School, Bellevue WA – MLK student assembly speaker

January 15, 2015: MLK Seattle Celebration 33rd Anniversary, King County, Seattle WA

The Voting Rights Fight, Keynote speaker for community celebration honoring Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday. For more information:http://www.mlkseattle.org/

January 22, 2015: YWCA Monterey County

This Bright Light of Ours: Presentation, reading and book signing.  Details forthcoming.

January 28, 2015: Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute, Stanford University

This Bright Light of Ours: Presentation, reading and book signing Details forthcoming.

Temple Beth El Book Launch Celebration

Temple Beth El Book Launch Celebration

Praise for Maria Gitin Presentations

Thank you! thank you! Thank you! Your contribution to the “Voice of Conscience: Civil Rights, Post-Civil Rights and the Future Freedom Struggle” was the highlight. You are a remarkable friend and colleague. As Director of the Program in African American and Diaspora Studies at Vanderbilt and on behalf of the program committee we thank you. – Victor D Anderson, Vanderbilt University

I learned a good bit from your presentation. I referenced you in the final chapter of” A Child Shall Lead Them.” Your book will be a valuable resource, and will be one I will want to use in my King course. – Rufus Burrow Indiana Professor of Christian Thought and Theological Ethics, Christian Theological Seminary

Maria’s passion, compassion, and love for the people of Wilcox County shines through in her lecture. I count it a privilege to meet someone who is so genuine and is part of living history.DeeAnn, student University of South Alabama

This Bright Light Alabama Book Tour March 6-13, 2014

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.