Ithica, New York (JFK+50) On Sunday June 10, 2018, Dorothy Lee Forman Cotton*, head of the Citizen Education Program for the NAACP in the 1960s, passed away at the Kendal at Ithica retirement community. The Dorthy Cotton Institute** website describes their namesake as "one of the most important unsung heroes of the civil rights movement."
Mrs. Cotton's key focus, according to Jeff Martin, was voter education in the states of Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia. He writes that she "taught non-violence to demonstrators before marches and...calmed tensions by singing church hymns."
Civil rights activist Bernard Lafayette, Jr.*** described Dorothy as "very courageous."
Dorothy Cotton also worked at the Highlander Folk Center in Tennessee and accompanied Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on his trip to Norway to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.
*Dorothy Lee Forman Cotton (1930-2018) was born in Goldsboro, N.C. & attended Shaw University in Raleigh. DLFC earned her BS in English & Library Science at Virginia State College in 1955 and Masters at Boston University in 1960.
**The Dorothy Cotton Institute advances the knowing, sharing and protection of human rights.
***Bernard Lafayette, Jr. was born in Tampa, Florida & was a member of the Nashville Student Movement. BLJ worked with the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) & the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). BLJ was educated at American Baptist College & Harvard University.
"Civil rights pioneer Cotton, an MLK colleague, dies", by Jeff Martin, Associated Press, The Knoxville News-Sentinel, June 13, 2018.
East Tennessee History Workshop
on Civil Rights
Photo by John White (2008)