You might ask, “Wait, you had to take money? I thought you volunteered!” Well, actually I had to pay to volunteer. Supporters of SCLC in Berkeley collected money to pay for the costs of the project. But we volunteers had to pay room and board and transportation to the project.
So, I found another approach. I had teachers and friends who supported the Civil Rights Movement. So, I asked for donations. The largest donation I asked for was $25 from my Uncle Bert (who was actually a second cousin many times removed). He was probably in his seventies at the time and promptly sent the money to me. I asked my high school English teacher, Mr. Breault for $5 and he gave me $10. I asked my family doctor, Howard Bliss for $10 and he gave me $20. I asked Bruce Harvey, another English teacher, for $10 and he gave me $30. My father wanted to know why my boyfriend Vic Stern was willing to give me $100. Some folks I asked for money gave me nothing. And my father’s childhood friend wrote back to me that he wouldn’t loan or give me $10 for the trip because he didn’t believe in northern “meddlers”.
How much did I need? We were told to bring $50 for the trip across the country and $10 for each week we were in the South or a total of $150. On Friday, May 28, I totalled up my donations in my journal. I had $175. At the bottom of the page, in red, I wrote: I’m going South! Notice, please, that no mention was made of money to get home.