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Sue [Lorenzi] Sojourner is a veteran of the civil rights movement who worked from fall 1964 through summer 1969 to help the black Holmes County, Mississippians build a viable, powerful, and effective political and social movement. Thunder of Freedom: Black Leadership and the Transformation of 1960s Mississippi, her book which was written in collaboration with Cheryl Reitan, was published in January 2013 by University Press of Kentucky. She has produced two photography exhibitions using reproductions of her original 1960s photographs.

About Sue: The world’s eyes were on Mississippi during the summer of 1964, when civil rights activists launched an ambitious African American voter registration project and were met with violent resistance from white supremacists. Sue Sojourner and her husband arrived in Holmes County, Mississippi, in the wake of this historic time, known as “Freedom Summer.”

From September 1964 until her departure from the state in 1969, Sojourner collected an incredible number of documents, oral histories, and photographs chronicling the dramatic events that she witnessed. In this remarkable book, Sojourner and Reitan present a fascinating account of one of the civil rights movement’s most active and broad-based community organizing operations in the South.

Thunder of Freedom unites Sojourner’s personal experiences with her insights regarding the dynamics of race relations in the 1960s South, providing readers with a unique look at the struggle for rights and equality in Mississippi. Illustrated with selections from Sojourner’s acclaimed catalog of photographs, this profound book tells the powerful, often intimate stories of ordinary people who accomplished extraordinary things.

Cheryl Reitan is a university administrator and the editor of the alumni magazine for the University of Minnesota Duluth. She has published short stories and articles in numerous literary and professional journals.


“Sue Sojourner’s account of her mid-2960s work in Holmes County, Mississippi, is an important, engaging manuscript and one that speaks to a number of significant themes and topics in the scholarship of the civil rights movement.”—Emilye Crosby, Civil Rights History from the Ground Up: Local Struggles, a National Movement


Thunder of Freedom captures the struggles, the stories, and the spirit of the movement and the community organizing that brought about great change in that time and place. Now is the time to continue the march toward freedom until there is a level playing field for every child in Mississippi and in America.”-- Marian Wright Edelman, Children's Defense Fund

Photo of Sue in banner by Sam Alvar.

Sue Sojourner | | 218-269-7588 |

Cheryl Reitan | |