The Co-op that Changed the South

By David Thompson

It was a small cooperative store on a little-known island off the coast of South Carolina. During the harshest days of the civil rights struggle, embattled black leaders came through its doors seeking inspiration. Among the legendary leaders who visited the co-op were Ralph Abernathy, Dorothy Cotton, Conrad Brown, Fannie Lou Hamer, Martin Luther King Jr., John Lewis, Bernice Reagon, Cleveland Sellers, Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael), Andrew Young, Hosea Williams, and many others.

The co-op was called the Progressive Club. Johns Island is one of the Sea Islands, home to the unique Gullah people who had retained a lot of their African cultural heritage. In the 1940s, Johns Island was remote and a nine-hour ferry ride to Charleston, S.C. After WWII, bridges slowly began to connect Johns Island to the mainland.

Read at the Cooperative Grocer Network

Black Farmers’ Lives Matter:

Defending African-American Land and Agriculture in the Deep South
Ben Burkett on his farm in Petaluma, Mississippi, with his great-nephew. Photo courtesy of Grassroots International.
“[Monsanto will] take you to court and make you pay back their money. Basically you’re just sharecropping for them, you’re leasing their seeds.”
“They’ve got a unique way of buying you off to not fight here. The American consumer doesn’t care as long as it’s cheap. But no matter what farmers plant, the consumer’s got to change the system. People buying the end product have to complain. As long as they don’t complain, there’s no need even talking about it.”

Charles Randolph-Wright and Pauletta Washington at Avery

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On Thursday, October 22 at 6:00pm, join  the Avery Research Center in giving Charles Randolph-Wright (York, South Carolina) a warm Charleston welcome during this wonderful evening of conversation and music, with his good friend actress, musician, humanitarian Pauletta Washington!
***Charles is currently working on several dynamic projects, including an upcoming NBC Underground Railroad miniseries, FREEDOM RUN, based on Betty De Ramus’s 2005 book “Forbidden Fruit: Love Stories From the Underground Railroad” Continue reading Charles Randolph-Wright and Pauletta Washington at Avery

Lowcountry Peace Speaker November 9

Please join Lowcountry Peace on November 9 (time TBA) for a visit Nadin Reyes_140x193by Nadín Reyes Maldonado, a Mexican human rights defender who founded the Committee of Family Members of the Disappeared and Detained ‘Until We Find Them’ (see bio and more information below). The number of forced disappearances in Mexico has gone up dramatically since 2007 when the drug war started through the Mérida Initiative.  Continue reading Lowcountry Peace Speaker November 9