Shooting in Greenwood, Mississippi, March 1963
Willie B. Wazir Peacock tells a story of how he and Sam Block, his friend and fellow SNCC field secretary, were almost killed one dark night in March, 1963 in Greewood, Mississippi. It is a revealing story about the 1960’s in Mississippi, where attempting to register to vote got African Americans fired and thrown off their land. The Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) organized supporters in the north to send down food and clothing relief. It is a story about two native Mississippians who grew up in segregation and then fought successfully to end it and were targeted with shotguns for their efforts as SNCC activists.
Willie B. Wazir Peacock appears in Harvey Richards’ film “We’ll Never Turn Back” made in Mississippi in February, 1963 during the voter registration drive that helped end legal racial segregation in the US. For the last 20 some years, he has lived in the Bay Area and recently began a video project, Stand for Freedom, to tell his story. Cathy Cade, who lives in Berkeley, knew Peacock in Mississippi in the 1960’s when she went there to help the voter registration drives. They teamed up with Lis Cox, a videographer, to create a video “Stand for Freedom: The Life and Times of Willie B. Wazir Peacock“.
After a meeting Wazir for the first time in a meeting with the the video team, I got together with Wazir again to review We’ll Never Turn Back in hopes of learning more about the filming and about my father. Having archived my father’s films and images for the last 27 years, I jumped at the chance to talk with someone who had been part of Harvey’s filming at the time. During the course of our conversation, Wazir told this story about a shooting in Greenwood, Mississippi, in March of 1963 that occurred right after Harvey left Mississippi in February. The story is presented here with photos from the Harvey Richards Media Archive, the Civil Rights Movement Veterans web site and from the Indiegogo site that is now raising funds for the Stand for Freedom video project.
This story is the first of several from my interview that are forthcoming in future blog posts on the Harvey Richards Media Archive. Subscribe to my blog (at the top of the sidebar on the right) if you want to be notified when they (and other posts) appear.
If you find this story compelling, please consider contributing to the Stand for Freedom video project.