Dickinson Student Involved in SCOPE; Committed To Anti-Racist Work

October 15, 1965

Su Kenderdine, a Dickinson senior, spent 11 weeks in Barbour County, Alabama volunteering with SCOPE (Summer Community Organization for Political Education). Kenderdine joined other Northern college students in the South with the goal of helping "Negroes better their lives by arousing an interest in education and government." As part of their work, Kenderdine and other SCOPE volunteers set up schools in counties across the South and tried to "better job opportunities for Southern Negroes."

SCOPE volunteers were met with great resistance from whites in the area. Kenderdine, among others, were constantly harassed - physically and verbally - by whites and even police officers. Kenderdine herself was arrested twice while on the job, once for "driving with a Virginia license," and again for "blocking the sidewalk." She spent a total of 10 days in a jail and was only given two small meals a day.

Kenderdine noted that building rapport with Southern African Americans was difficult at best: "They [African Americans] are deeply suspicious of all whites." This mistrust (combined with the Southern white community's resistance to allowing SCOPE volunteers to do their jobs) made for a hard but fulfilling summer. Kenderdine spoke of organizing "a full unit from Dickinson" for the following summer to return to Alabama.

Location of Document in Archives
Dickinsonian October 15, 1965