In Memoriam

  • Avon Rollins

     
    The passing of our brother, Avon Rollins this past Wednesday (December 7, 2016), is a loss that is deeply felt within our community of SNCC veterans and the Movement as a whole.  Like so many of us, activism pulled Avon into the freedom struggle while still in his teens. Just a few weeks after the Greensboro sit-ins erupted, Avon, a Knoxville, Tennessee native, then a high school student, joined other students, mainly from Knoxville College, in launching a sit-in movement. He was one of the youngest in this group of protesters.
     
    Barely a year later he joined Marion Barry in enrolling in the recently desegregated University of Tennessee. By then his interest in SNCC, which he considered "the vanguard of the Civil Rights Movement," had grown. By the summer of 1963 he was a member of SNCC's executive committee. That year he went to Danville, Virginia as a SNCC organizer to support the burgeoning movement there. He stayed there a year. 
    From Danville, he pushed the Movement to evolve from focusing only on demonstrations to an economic struggle. Danville was home to Dan River Mills, then one of the world's largest textile companies. SNCC bought a few stocks and as Avon later put it, "raised hell" at a Dan River Mills corporate board meeting in New York City.
     
    During his work with SNCC, he was arrested 30 times. Later, after a career at the Tennessee Valley Authority, he served as executive director of the Beck Cultural Exchange Center, a Knoxville institution dedicated to the preservation of African-American history and culture in the city. 
    "We have to pass the baton to a new generation to foster change and make America what she is intended to be," Avon told a reporter shortly before his death. The I-40 bridge in Knoxville is named for him.
    Read more at https://snccdigital.org/people/avon-rollins/
    Read more at http://www.crmvet.org/vet/rollins.htm
    Read More
  • Clifford A. Vaughs

    Clifford A. Vaughs  1937-2016
    Clifford A. Vaughs . . . civil rights activist, award-winning photographer and independent filmmaker, designer and builder of the iconic Captain America and Billy bikes and Associate Producer for the film Easy Rider, retired V.P. The Chosen Few MC, jazz lover, one-time manager of the Buddy Miles Band, and long-time single-handed sailer and adventurer died Saturday, July 2, at 8:00 p.m. at his home in Templeton, California, where he lived with his "other half" and mate Daniella Sapriel. He leaves behind four sons, two daughters, and grandchildren. Cliff was a SNCC Field Secretary 1963-65, and a noted photojournalist.  More information will be forthcoming as to a "Celebration of Life" planned for a later date in the Los Angeles area.
     
    Read More
  • Eddie C. Brown, Jr.

    Eddie C. Brown, Jr.

    “His devotion, eloquence and generosity of spirit has ennobled and adorned the movement in our time. Because of his quiet self-confidence and humility he never sought publicity but thousands, especially poor folk, here and on the Continent have had their lives vastly improved by Ed’s effectiveness and compassion. He is truly one of the great un-sung heroes of our generation. We shall not soon see his like again.”[Ekwueme Michael Thelwell]

    Read More
  • Faye Bellamy Powell

    Faye Bellamy Powell

    Faye Bellamy was born in May, 1938 in Pennsylvania. She joined the US Air Force shortly after graduating from high school, and served at Ft. Dix, NJ.

     

    While working at the New York World’s Fair in 1964, her cousin Lee Jack Morton told her about SNCC. She enlisted and went to work in SNCC’s Selma, Alabama office, arriving in Selma on January 1, 1965.

    Read More
  • George Ware

    George Ware

    George W. Ware Jr., also known as Gro Hungan Yabofé Noványón Idizol, was an educator and co-founder of the Black Music Association.

    He died Oct. 5, 2012, of lung cancer. He was 72.

    Read More
  • Gwen Patton

     
    Dr. Gwendolyn M. Patton died suddenly on May 11, 2017 in Montgomery, Alabama.
     
    She was the first female President of the Tuskegee Institute student body in 1965 and she used her power to build a student movement. She was the Direct Action Chair for the Tuskegee Institute Advancement League (SNCC affiliate) in the mid-1960’s.
     
    Her memoir is due to be published soon.
     
    Gwen was among the founding members of the National Rainbow Coalition and the Southern Rainbow Education Project.
     
    She was a youth founding member of the (Black) Alabama Democratic Conference in 1960, an organization dedicated to getting Black people registered as voters. She also became a youth organizer in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and SCLC.
    As a student at Tuskegee University, she served as the first female student government association president. As a SNCC organizer, she was one of the founders of its Women's Commission and served as the first commission chair. She founded the National Anti-War, Anti-Draft Union and the National Association of Black Students. Based on Freedom of Information files, Gwen was under surveillance and classified under active investigation by the FBI and the CIA.
    Dr. Patton earned her bachelor's degree in English and history at Tuskegee, where she was told by Alabama state officials that she would never get a job in Alabama because of her movement activities. She earned her master's in history and the art of teaching from Antioch College, and her doctorate in political history and higher education administration from Union Graduate School.
     
    Her movement activities were interspersed with teaching at several colleges in the East and Southeast. Gwen was born 1943 in Michigan and moved to Montgomery, Alabama at age 16 to live with her grandmother.  After graduate school, she returned to Montgomery in 1977 and continued her movement activities while teaching at local universities and colleges.
     
    Dr. Patton most recently worked as an archivist for H. Councill Trenholm State Technical College, which houses special collections of Pioneers of the Voting Rights Movement. She was in great demand, locally, nationally and internationally, as a speaker and lecturer on the civil/voting rights movement. Dr. Patton was Montgomery Coordinator for the National Historic Voting Rights Trail and served on its National Advisory Council.
     
    For more about Dr. Gwen Patton, see:
     
     
    Read More
  • Ivanhoe Donaldson

    Ivanhoe Donaldson
    Ivanhoe Donaldson was born in 1941 in New York City, the son of a policeman.  He graduated from Michigan State University, where he became involved in the civil rights movement by delivering food to Mississippi sharecroppers during the winter of 1962-63, driving a truck loaded with supplies from Michigan to Clarksdale, MS.  He soon began working full-time as a SNCC Field Secretary.
    He was campaign manager for Julian Bond’s 1965 successful campaign for a seat in the Georgia state legislature and was SNCC’s point person at the Selma-to-Montgomery march.  In 1968, Donaldson helped found Afro-American Resources, Inc., which ran the Drum and Spear Bookstore,Drum and Spear Press, and the Center for Black Education in Washington, D.C. He was also a visiting lecturer for Afro-American courses at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst . Donaldson advised and worked for Washington, D.C. mayor Marion Barry for many years.
    Read More
  • Jesse Lee Harris

    Jesse Lee Harris

    SNCC veteran Jesse Lee Harris died January 28, 2015 in Jackson, Mississippi, age 75.

    Read More
  • Julian Bond

    Julian Bond
    Julian Bond, Vice-Chair of the SNCC Legacy Project, died on August 15, 2015 at his vacation home in Florida.  He was 75.  He was a long-time resident of Washington, DC. Read More
  • Lawrence Guyot

    Lawrence Guyot

    WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Lawrence Guyot, the scion of the Civil Rights Movement who later turned his efforts to statehood for the District of Columbia died Nov. 23, 2012. He was 73.

     

    Guyot died at home after a long battle with diabetes and heart disease. Friends who had spoken with him in recent weeks said he was elated at having seen the reelection of President Obama, of whom he was an ardent supporter. He told the AFRO he voted early because he wanted to make sure his vote was counted as his health failed.

    Read More
  • Marion Barry

    Marion Barry

    SNCC’s first Chairman, 1960. Attended SNCC's founding conference in Raleigh, NC in April 1960. Former 4-term Mayor of Washington, DC, and 4-term member of the Washington, DC City Council.

  • Matthew Jones

    Matthew Jones

    A reflection by Bernice Johnson Reagon:

    In the 1960’s, as events in the Civil Rights Movement escalated, so did the repertoire of songs. Not only were there considerably more songs sung but their subject matter, form and cultural origins broadened. Up to the summer of 1963, the music created in the South in the midst of local community based organizing fell into congregational styled singing. These songs were structured so that they could be sung by large numbers of people and could be learned in the process of singing. From the period of the sit-ins there were songs styled in the rhythm and blues, doo wop tradition and they tended to be sung in small harmony groups by strong harmony singers.

    Read More
  • Robert C. Mants, Jr.

    Robert C. Mants, Jr.

    SLP December 7, 2011

     

    The SNCC Legacy Project mourns the death today of former SNCC Field Secretary Robert C. Mants, Jr. (1943-2011). Bob suffered a massive heart attack.

    Read More
  • Silas Norman

    Silas Norman

    SNCC Project Director in Alabama, passed on July 17, 2015 at his home in Ann Arbor, Michigan, age 74.   While a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin, Silas first came to Selma in June of 1964 as a member of the Selma Literacy Project and facilitated Malcolm X’s visit to Selma in early 1965.  Read More
  • William (Bill) Hall

    William (Bill) Hall

    William (Bill) Hall
    1936-2013 

  • Willie B. Wazir Peacock

     
                               1937-2016
     Willie Wazir Peacock died n San Pablo, California on Sunday morning April 17, 2016 in San Pablo, California.   He was in hospice care at home.  His Colleagues in the Bay Area Veterans of the Civil Rights Movement wrote: "We will have a memorial service at the Berkeley Self Realization Fellowship Temple but we don't have a date.  And we believe there will be a memorial in Mississippi as well."
    Wazir was born in Tallahatchie County, Mississippi in 1937  He wrote:
        " In 1960, while a student at Rust College in Holly Springs, MS. , I had the first opportunity to express my activism. We all knew about the sit-ins by black college students in Raleigh, North Carolina and some Rust students wanted to show our solidarity. The balcony of the movie theater in Holly Springs was segregated so we organized a student boycott of the theater. We tried to get the students at a nearby industrial college to join us, but the president made them go to the theater and break the boycott."
         "In fall, 1960, we met our first SNCC representative, Jim Bevel, when he came to Rust with Sam Block and Dewey Green, Jr. We organized other students to meet with them and later Dion Diamond, also from SNCC (who was arrested on charges from Louisiana and therefore couldn't return). Then came Frank Smith from Atlanta, who moved to Holly Springs in early 1962. I worked on voter registration all over northeastern Mississippi and also organized a credit union with Frank until I graduated from Rust in August."
    Wazir worked for SNCC from 1960-1966 in Mississippi.  
    For more about Wazir's life and work, see http://www.crmvet.org/vet/wazir.htm
    and http://onevotesncc.org/profile/willie-peacock/
     
    Read More
  • 1