The Struggle Continues!
SCOPE50.org June 2019
SCOPE50 Annual Board Meeting, May 2019
The SCOPE50 Board of Directors met on May 16-18 for their annual Board meeting, on Seabrook Island, South Carolina. In attendance were John Reynolds (President), Jo Freeman (Secretary), Lanny Kaufer (Recording Secretary), Barbara Williams Emerson, Sherie Labedis, Richard Smiley, and Mary Whyte. Following are some of the topics that were discussed:
Presentations: On May 15, a day before the start of the Board meeting, Lanny Kaufer did his presentation at a local high school on John Island (St. Johns High School) which was attended by most of the student body. Lanny and David Childs had prepared for the event at the school, but unfortunately some technical issues forced Lanny to cut back on his presentation. At the board meeting, the board discussed how we might use Lanny's presentation in other parts of the country. It was suggested that Lanny and Richard Smiley do a presentation together, as they had done a few months ago in Los Olivos, California.
African-American Museum: John reported that he and his wife Gloria had visited the National Museum of African-American History and Culture in April. He said that there are several areas in the museum that deal with the history of SCLC. One of the areas is SCOPE and Hosea. Another is the Poor People's Campaign. There is a section on Dr. King. Dr. Abernathy is in the political section along with Jesse Jackson. And there is also a section on SCLC's Citizenship Education program. John said that there is still some difficulty getting admittance to the museum because of the large groups going in, so it is necessary to get tickets in advance. It is possible to do the museum in a full day, but it would be better to visit the museum over two days.
Fundraising: It was proposed that we ask SCOPE50 members who have professional fundraising experience if they would be willing to help support our fundraising efforts, perhaps taking on grant writing and other aspects of fundraising. This would free up the President from having to search for grants and write proposals. Interested SCOPE50 members should contact John Reynolds at JohnR99773@ aol.com.
John announced that the Sounds of Motown 2 will take place on February 21, 2020. The first Motown event in February 2018 was SCOPE50's most successful fundraising activity.
Outreach: John and Mary have been meeting with a possible donor over the last several months. This donor is a surgeon and philanthropist with an interest in bringing arts into public schools. He has expressed interest in providing funds for SCOPE50's mission, and he attended one of the board meetings to discuss SCOPE50's financial needs. The board focused primarily on our oral history project with the ultimate goal of bringing this history into schools across the country as well as archiving it with the Library of Congress. The board presented a budget to the donor, who agreed to continue discussions with the board.
Voter Registration: For the past few months we have been working on a plan for our 2020 voter registration efforts. We know that we need to put more boots on the ground in 2020, so we have been looking for partners to work with. Also, we have been looking for funding so that an organizer could be hired. We have reached out to labor organizations and political organizations such as the DNC. At its annual meeting the Board decided that we should partner with the League of Women Voters. We have done some work with the League, but we are hoping to broaden and solidify that partnership for 2020.
Recently, an individual made a donation towards our voter registration effort, with a specific interest in disenfranchisement of Native Americans. The Board committed to doing the best we can to include the needs of Native Americans in any voter registration work. We encourage SCOPE50 members to reach out to tribes in their area, and partner with them on voting issues. If members identify tribes where there has been voter suppression, please pass that information to the Board.
Hospital Workers Strike: Activities relating to the 50th anniversary of the Charleston hospital workers strike have continued over the past few months. In May, John arranged for Andy Young to come to Charleston and meet with these hospital workers. The local press has done a great deal of reporting on this anniversary and its significance to the Civil Rights Movement.
There are two forthcoming documentaries for which John Reynolds has been interviewed. One was for a local TV station's documentary on the hospital workers, which is scheduled to air in July. The other was for a Smithsonian Channel documentary on Apollo 11; they are including the demonstration by SCLC and the hospital workers at the launch of Apollo 11 at Cape Canaveral in July 1969.
Carolyn Murray, Anchor, WCBD-TV, Charleston John Reynolds
New SCOPE50 Board Members:
At the annual Board meeting, two new members were elected to the Board of Directors. Both of them have a history with SCOPE. The first is Donzaleigh Abernathy, daughter of Ralph and Juanita Abernathy. The second is Peggy Poole, who was assigned to Sussex County, Virginia, during the SCOPE project in 1965. We welcome them both to the Board.
Poor People's Campaign:
The Board reaffirmed its partnership with the new Poor People's Campaign and our commitment to working with them. The Board encourages SCOPE50 members to participate in the Poor People's Campaign when they come to your area. In July there are events scheduled in Elmira, NY; Atlanta, GA; Rockville, MD; Columbia, SC; and Buffalo, NY. For further information, check their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/anewppc/events/
Democrat and Republican Conventions 2020:
Jo Freeman submitted a proposal to the Board at its annual meeting, suggesting that SCOPE50 have a presence at the Democrat and Republican conventions next year.
Following is her proposal:
"The Democrat Convention will be held in Milwaukee, July 13-16, and the Republican Convention will be held in Charlotte, August 24-27. There is usually a major march the preceding Sunday; we should be prepared to participate. There should also be press and delegate parties Saturday and Sunday evening. That means arriving on Friday or Saturday, and leaving the next Friday or Saturday. During convention week the Democrats will hold caucus and council meetings which are open to the public. There should be some way to take advantage of this. The Republicans, but not the Democrats, hold their Platform and other Committee hearings the week before the convention. Sometimes these are places to protest.
I expect the GOP to do something major at its convention to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment. It was largely a Republican measure in 1919-20. The actual date (Aug. 26) it became part of the Constitution is the third day of the convention. The Republicans want to recoup lost women voters. We can piggyback on that. I don't know if the Dems will celebrate woman suffrage, but defeating voter suppression is clearly a Democratic theme. Our contribution is that this is not new. Our members were fighting voter suppression (actually voter exclusion) over 50 years ago, and it wasn't new then. We can offer live testimony about this.
"Theme: Voter Fraud vs. voter suppression: what is the problem? The Republicans made a big issue out of voter fraud, tiny though it is. By using this as the theme we can appear to be nonpartisan.
"Publicity: At the conventions we want to publicize the continuity of the struggle for the reality of voting, not just the right. We can find spots to put up a table with literature and books as well as carry a banner in the marches. Our table can display a sign that says something to the effect of Meet a Sixties Civil Rights Worker and find out some of the many ways that voting can be suppressed. We can invite our members to come to the conventions to spend some time behind that table. The conventions attract lots of press. Reporters from all over the world are looking for something new or different to write about. We can be that something. We may also find places to do presentations such as that by Lanny and Smiley.
"Preparation needs to start well in advance. The details of exactly what we do when and where can wait. The biggest problem will be finding a place to stay. Hotels will be reserved well in advance. I doubt we could find a hotel within 50 miles even if we could afford one. However, people do open up their homes as a form of activism just as they did in the small towns we worked in in the Sixties. We should ask our alums to contact their friends in the convention cities and see what we can find. We need to rent or borrow a house on a public transportation line so we don't have to rely on cars to get to the main events."
After discussion, the Board voted to explore Jo's proposal, to include seeking potential committee members and leaders within SCOPE50 membership, finding SCOPErs in Milwaukee and Charlotte, and planning a Board teleconference meeting in a couple months to assess this.
Atlanta Oral History Gathering:
After the annual board meeting, on May 22-25, a SCOPE50 film crew went to Atlanta to collect the oral histories of some of the SCOPE members who live in that area, and several interviews were conducted.
Charles Allen Lingo, Jr. John and Terrie Randolph
An example of the murals seen throughout Atlanta
We are continuing to collect oral histories. The next location will be in Boston. Also, we are in the process of seeing if we can collect oral histories from members by using Skype or FaceTime. Several members have mentioned that this would be a better approach for them.