for Sammy Young

for Sammy Young

— Charlie Cobb

Journalist, poet, and professor Charlie (Charles) Cobb joined the Civil Rights movement in the U.S. in 1961, when he participated in a non-violent protest against segregation in Baltimore. He was arrested for his efforts. Eighteen years old and a student at Howard University, he learned more about the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee while in jail. His inquiries started him on the first of many years of social justice work. In 1962, he relocated to Mississippi, where he worked to establish a system of Freedom Schools for black children denied access to state schools.

Cobb dedicated this poem to Samuel “Sammy” Younge, Jr., who was murdered when he tried to use a whites-only bathroom in Macon County, Alabama.

[Research note: Charlie Cobb, Furrow (Tougaloo, MS: Flute Publications, 1967), p. 34; Charlie Cobb documents from Civil Rights Movement Veterans; biography of Sammy Younge, Jr. , from]