An Interview with Rev. Wendell Paris
Civil and Voting rights advocate Rev. Wendell H. Paris, discusses the relationship between the Cooperative and Voting Rights movements. Rev. Paris of Jackson, Mississippi, is one of the early foot soldiers of the Civil and Voting Rights Movements. Paris, was a founding member of the Tuskegee Advancement League (TIAL), a campus organization affiliated with the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). In the 1960s he helped to register voters and participated in direct action campaigns in Alabama and Mississippi.
After a record-breaking Presidential Election in November, amid unprecedented voter suppression tactics, Rev. Wendell H. Paris was reminded of rhetoric he heard during registration drives in Alabama and the Selma-to-Montgomery march. “Whenever you hear him say, ‘law and order,’ that’s coded language,” said Paris. “We have reverted back to the racial situation of the 1950s and the 1960s.”
Rev. Paris also discussed the importance of the run-off elections in Georgia, and the impact the outcome of the election will have on his right to vote in the future. He talks about how southern cooperatives have worked with organizations that have protected the rights of farmers and Black communities. He shared how the Southwest Georgia Project has supported empowering people to participate in voting process, and encouraged people to support its efforts.
Be certain to listen to this legendary voting rights advocate, who has spent his lifetime standing up for the civil and voting rights since his involvement as a founding member of the SNCC in the 1960s.