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Sue

About Sue

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.

   

Sue [Lorenzi] Sojourner 

Sue's book, Thunder of Freedom: Black Leadership and the Transformation of 1960s Mississippi, written in collaboration with Cheryl Reitan, was published by University Press of Kentucky in January 2013. She has produced two photography exhibitions using reproductions of her original 1960s photographs. The book tells of the real dangers and fears that the local leaders experienced and how they built one of the most effective grassroots Movements in the state.

Education
B.A. 1964, Political Science and Journalism from the University of California, Berkeley

Selected Manuscripts/Publications
The Management of Fear by a Community: Holmes County, Miss., 1963-67,“ by Sue [Lorenzi] Sojourner and Henry Lorenzi, 1968

“The Some People of That Place,” final analysis. A manuscript describing the Holmes County organizing efforts, by Sue [Lorenzi] Sojourner and Henry Lorenzi, 1969

“The 1967 Elections” by Sue and Henry Lorenzi, 1969; edited by Sue, 2004

Some Views on Blacks and Black Communities—A Collection of Diverse Papers, compiled and edited under the direction of D.B. Shimkin (Champaign: University of Illinois, Dept of Anthropology, 1969)

Materials on Holmes County, Miss.: An Index and Descriptions, w/H. Lorenzi (Lexington/Champaign, 1969)

“The Holmes County Civil Rights Movement Participants: The Mood, Feel, Environment of 1963-67,” read at annual meeting of American Anthropological Association, Washington, DC, Dec. 1985;

“The Holmes County Civil Rights Movement Participants: A White Activist’s Perspective,” read at Research Conference on the Experiences of Black Mississippians, University of Mississippi, Oxford, Feb, 1986;

“The Holmes County Civil Rights Movement Participants: Oral Histories,” read at Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference of Oral History Association, Morgan State University, Baltimore, April 1986

Selected Exhibitions

“The 1960s Holmes County Mississippi Civil Rights Movement,” prepared a display as part of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement Exhibit, Tamiment Library, New York University, Oct-Nov 1989

“The Some People of That Place — 1960s Holmes County, Mississippi: The Local People and Their Civil Rights Movement,” a documentary photography exhibit first on display at the University of Minnesota Duluth Tweed Museum of Art, March-April 1999. Included 13-image illustrated exhibit brochure.

Additional exhibitions: Washington Galleries, Duluth, 1999; Tougaloo College’s Annual History Conference, Jackson, Miss. (2001) ; Milton Olive Community Center, Lexington, Miss, by Holmes Freedom Democratic Party (2001); Georgetown University, Washington, DC (2002) University of Wisconsin-Superior (2004); Old Capitol Museum, Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Jackson, Miss (2004) Puffin Forum, Teaneck, N.J. (2004); Haverford College, Haverford, Pennsylvania (2006).

“Got to Thinking: How the Black People of 1960s Holmes County, Mississippi Organized Their Civil Rights Movement.”, a photography exhibit and 20-page text brochure commissioned by Praxis International, a Duluth non-profit, for its training of organizers from around the world in domestic abuse intervention (2000).

On the website (http://www.praxisinternational.org/lib_communityorganization.aspx) and on permanent display at the Praxis Building (The Center for Nonviolence) at Second Avenue East and Superior Street in Duluth, MN.

Grants and Awards

Norcroft Women’s Writing Retreat, Lutsen, Minnesota. Solo Writing Retreat, October 1998 and January 2001

Minnesota State Arts Board. Grant for printing of brochures for Tweed exhibit, January 1999

Blacklock Nature Sanctuary, Moose Lake, Minnesota. Solo Writing Retreat, August 1999

Arrowhead Regional Arts Council, Duluth, Minnesota. Artist Initiative Grant, November 2008

More about The Civil Rights Movement: www.crmvet.org


Notes from Sue:

From 1996-2014, I lived and worked in Duluth, Minnesota in a housing cooperative of nearly 40 artists. Being surrounded by artists in a building with a public art gallery was critical to realizing myself as an artist and photographer.

PHOTOGRAPHY
My husband Henry and I spent five years as white "outside agitators" in the local civil rights Movement in Holmes County, Mississippi. During our first years in Holmes — the most dangerous ones of 1964-65 — survival was as much our work as voter registration, the community center, school integration, and creating the Freedom Democratic Party. For working organizers, taking photos was not a priority — staying alive was of greater interest. So, not until the last year of our five in the county did I make the images to document the times. In the late 1990s I became recognized as a photographer, based on the 100s of black-and- white stills I took of Movement and community people in Holmes County.
My first public works are the several documentary photography exhibits I've created and shown at art museums, public schools, community centers, storefronts, and colleges and universities. See the Photography and Exhibits pages for more information on those.

WRITING
When I moved to Duluth from D.C., I wanted a place to write the book I'd been carrying in my head, heart, and many boxes since the 1960s. In the ‘80s, when Henry died, the book became up to me to finish. I needed to organize and complete my writings on the work I'd witnessed.

I wanted to publish the words of the local leaders that I'd taken down in the midst of the struggle — to put together the story of their organizing achievement. Strong, growing, they lived through real danger and fear. They survived and built one of the most effective grassroots Movements in the state. They'd changed their lives — not just for each individually, but for all their people. I'm not the only one to call the activity one of the strongest in the state. Mississippi civil rights historian John Dittmer and Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party leader Lawrence Guyot agree with me on that issue.

By fall 2003, I had a manuscript draft, “Listening: The Local People Speak on The Movement and Their Lives — Turnbow, Carnegie, Hayes, and the First 14: Getting Organized in Holmes Co., Mississippi, 1963-1967.”

With the help of Cheryl Reitan and others from 2008-2012, I was able to complete the book about Holmes County, Thunder of Freedom: Black Leadership and the Transformation of 1960s Mississippi.

PERSPECTIVE
For a time, I focused my lenses on the people in today's African-American, peace, labor, feminist, and lesbian movements in the Duluth area. At the same time, trees, rocks, and water call to my camera, though usually as individuals rather than in landscapes. As always, I'm drawn to people, their faces, their whole bodies, living their lives. Making images of all these Beings, then telling their names is my way of honoring their existence.

A note about my name: In 1972, Henry and I legally changed our names from Lorenzi to Sojourner. I sign my Holmes County photography and writing work as “Sue [Lorenzi] Sojourner.

Sue Sojourner

Photo above left: Sue in Mississippi in 1967.

Sue Sojourner | suesojourner.com | 218-269-7588 | susojo@yahoo.com

Cheryl Reitan | cheryl@cherylreitan.com | www.cherylreitan.com