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Saturday, November 24, 2012
Lawrence Guyot, long time civil rights advocate, dies
Lawrence Guyot (July 17, 1939 – November 23, 2012) was a civil rights activist who was the head of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party from 1964
(Publisher's note: This story just came in. Lawrence Guyot was a longtime fighter for civil rights. I had the pleasure of meeting him in Philadelphia, Miss., on the steps of that infamous courthouse. He will be missed by many who care about civil rights and freedoms in this country. He was a person who followed his passions and dreams. SK)
Guyot died at home after a long battle with diabetes and heart disease. Friends who had spoken with him in recent weeks said he was elated at having seen the reelection of President Obama, of whom he was an ardent supporter. He told the AFRO he voted early because he wanted to make sure his vote was counted as his health failed.
Guyot was born in Pass Christian, Miss., on July 17, 1939. He grew up in atmosphere where Blacks had more freedom than they did in other areas of Mississippi, however after enrolling in Tougaloo College at age 17, he discovered the depth of the discrimination that other Blacks suffered in terms of voting and exercising their full citizenship rights. He was one of the early volunteers for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.
Working closely with activists like Medgar Evers, Fannie Lou Hamer, Bob Moses and Dorie Ladner, Guyot was among the students, Black and White, who put forth their energy and risked their lives to register voters and protest discriminatory policies in everything from business to education.
He was jailed at the infamous Mississippi State Penitentiary, known as Parchman Farm. more than once, suffered several brutal beatings at the hands of corrupt law enforcement officials and faced down death several times. But that did not reduce his resolve to help his people.
Guyot was also active in local politics, serving as a Ward 1 Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner and allying himself with a number of local campaigns.
During the fight for same-sex marriage in D.C., Guyot also bucked many from his own generation to argue that marriage equality was a matter of civil rights: "This is a fight whose time has come. There is no middle road on this. You either want liberty for everyone, or you want liberty for non-gays," he was quoted as saying in the Post.
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