Two of our dearest friends since the mid-seventies have been Mildred and Phillip Greear.
Mildred and Phillip led the first outdoor classroom workshop I ever attended in 1972 or 73. We campaigned door to door with her when she ran for state senate. We accompanied her and Phillip in a overnight canoe trip down the Etowah with other campaign folk to unwind and assuage our loss in the run-off election. We worked with Brannon and I used Philip's shop to finish those doll cradles between my father's death on December 3 and Christmas of 1986. We rejoiced with Mildred and Phillip at their daughter Missy's wedding in their mountain top yard. We grieved with them and I sang at Missy's funeral in Helen, Georgia a few years later.
Recently I stumbled upon this quote from Mildred on the internet:
Mildred Greear, a retired teacher, is a civil rights activist in Helen, Georgia.
"Around 1964 my husband and I got involved with a group in Rome, Georgia, that fought for the peaceful integration of public schools. We had meetings every month at City Hall, which was across the street from a gas station where a bunch of men hung around. They were known to be in the Ku Klux Klan. They used to call over to a pay phone outside our meeting room and yell obscenities and racial slurs to whoever picked up the phone. We learned not to pick up the phone at all. When we left the meetings, they often followed one of our cars, sticking right onto the bumper. But we persevered. A number of us helped integrate the Fourth Ward School. We'd arranged to link together Black and white students as they entered school. Why was this so important? I think being poor gave me some feeling for people who are hungry for whatever it is that's better than what they've got. To feed the hungry—to feed any hunger, whether it's for food or a kid who wants a crayon or to hear music played—that's driven me. It was all so damned illogical to me: that the pigment in your skin had anything to do with who you were, or what you could do"