Long Live the Spirit of Lawrence Guyot
Askia Muhammad | 12/19/2012, 12:10 p.m.
Guyot was jailed and beaten countless times. Once, Dorie Ladner told me, after his torture in the jail in Winona, where he went to free the legendary Fannie Lou Hamer, June Johnson, and Annell Ponder - themselves victims of vicious beatings - his face resembled raw ground meat when he was released from jail. Maybe the only reason they were released at all in June 1963, is because the state's NAACP field director Medgar Evers was slain in Jackson the day before and the tactics of the White Citizen Councils and other race-haters made Mississippi "too hot" in the public's eye.
Along with Mrs. Hamer, Guyot founded the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party which fought to get the Voting Rights Act passed, and which unseated the all-White Democratic Party delegation to the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, and which spelled the end of the domination of that party by segregationists known as "Dixie-crats."
The amazing thing Dorie Ladner told me, is that she, Guyot, and Bob Moses - another legend of Mississippi freedom-organizing - were the ones who went to the plantation owned by U.S. Senator James Eastland and took her off the plantation to register to vote. It was our Hero Lawrence Guyot who found Mrs. Hamer and her husband and their 17 children a place to live when the powerful politician kicked her off his place for registering.
Long live the unbreakable spirit of the SNCC Mississippi cadres. Long live the unbreakable spirit of Mississippi-born legend, Lawrence Thomas Guyot!