Just back from a whirlwind tour of Atlanta GA and Mobile AL where students, teachers and other civil rights veterans gave warm reception to me and “This Bright Light of Ours.” We engaged in lively dialog about the need to bring back national civil discourse and restore voting rights in states where they have been lost. I am honored to carry not only my own stories but those of dozens of African American grassroots heroes to encourage this conversation.
I was invited to be one of 20 Bay Area Civil Rights Veterans (we have an organization) to the SF Film Festival premiere of Oprah Winfrey’s new film, Selma, which opens Dec 25th. When I looked at my calendar and saw that the date was Nov 15th when I was already committed to be in Atlanta presenting at the Southern Historical Association conference, I almost had a fit! As the world turns, my trip to Atlanta was rich in dialog and memory. I hadn’t been back to Atlanta in the 49 yrs since our “civil rights book camp” – Orientation. One of the lasting images I had was of MLK speaking to me in our final friendship circle. Now his name and image are on dozens of buildings and national park sites.
I will also be speaking at Monterey Institute of International Studies on Wednesday Jan 21st as part of the YWCA Racial Justice series and at Stanford University on January 28th. Stay current on presentations and events at http://www.thisbrightlightofours.com/events-appearances-2/maria-gitin-upcoming-speaking-schedule/
Maria, & others, ‘specially Brookses,
It is good to see the history and personal work continuing. I did see the Brookses in Raleigh,
& Jo, & Bruce and others. But my poverty and related stresses continue to block my communications. I would be happy to write my story of what happened on April 6 (?), 1965,
in Camden. I never knew the name of the 12-year old girl who stood up so courageously to the Deputy with the shotgun. She inspired me to stand up and sing us back into formation on the Line, at Camden’s city limits.
Then, they got me — quite severely.
Thereafter, most of my Southern Movement time was spent in Demopolis, and Selma, until I got “Disappeared” again.
Did Jimmy Collier ever sing in Wilcox? I got in touch with him again this summer. I have not seen Jimmy since he got me out of jail in Linden, Marengo, at midnight on my 21st birthday.
Then, a couple weeks later, the Feds got me in Selma, & I was “disappeared” for decades. Richard Smiley was witness to some of that, maybe Lula Crosby also.
If anyone would like to communicate, maybe correct some of each Others’ memories,
I would love to.
Strider Arkansas Benston