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Mississippi: "it was time for me to get out of my comfort zone"

CentralOhio.com reports: Mississippi was a brutal place in the civil-rights era of the 1960s, from the perspective of two veterans of the movement who were there -- Flonzie Goodloe Brown-Wright and Hellen O Neal-McCray.

They shared their experiences Monday morning at Denison University during the Martin Luther King Jr. Day commemoration breakfast. Their presentation was "The Power of Story: A Dialogue Between Two Women."

"The date June 12, 1963, was the defining moment in my life," Brown-Wright told the standing-room-only crowd in the Welsh Hills Room of the Burton D. Morgan Center. "That s the day Medgar Evers was assassinated in his front yard in front of his wife and his children for trying to help people register to vote. I realized it was time for me to get out of my comfort zone. I began to work in the movement to get people registered to vote."

When Brown-Wright, now 65, tried to register to vote she was asked to define habeas corpus as part of the registration form -- a form only black Mississippians were expected to answer. She didn t know what it meant at the time, but she studied the state constitution and later returned to successfully register to vote.

Subsequently, she vowed she would get the job of the man who denied her the right to vote, and she did. She became the first black woman to be elected the county registrar. She frequently was persecuted for her efforts. -- Central Ohio - www.centralohio.com - Central Ohio, OH

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