Fifty years ago in 1965, a handful of UCSB students organized to register “Negro” voters in rural Virginia. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference recruited them for the SCOPE PROJECT to help disenfranchised Southern communities register to vote in the era of the poll tax and on the eve of the passage of the Voting Rights Act.
On Thursday, April 16, 2015, at 7:30 p.m. the former students will gather in Mosher Alumni House on the UCSB campus for their 50-year reunion at a free event open to UCSB students and the general public. SCOPE veteran Lanny Kaufer will perform his musical multimedia presentation “Martin Luther King and the Spirit of the ‘60s” followed by a Q&A session with the entire group. The 1965 UCSB SCOPE volunteers expected to be in attendance include Kaufer, Phil McKenna, Ivan Rasmussen, Robert Waterman, Peggy (Ryan) Poole, and Gary Imsland. Michael Bennett will not be able to attend. Paul Raymond and Eleanor Mackey are now deceased.
McKenna, a Santa Barbara resident and President of the Gaviota Coast Conservancy, emphasized the timeliness of the reunion: “The non-violent civil rights movement showed that individuals acting with the proper intentions can have a profound and enduring impact,” he said. “Nonviolence changed the history of this country and it can be applied again to counteract the ignorance and prejudice that we witness today.”
The event, co-sponsored by the UCSB Sociology Department and the Black Student Union, is free and open to the public. For more information visit www.CivilRightsVet.com or call 805-646-6281.