Tougaloo College to hold memorial service for Mississippi Civil Rights veteran Lawrence Guyot


The Mississippi Link Newswire


A memorial service will be held for Mississippi civil rights veteran Lawrence Guyot Monday, Dec. 10, in the historic Woodworth Chapel on the campus of Tougaloo College. Guyot was a Tougaloo graduate, who died Nov. 23, 2012 in Mount Ranier, Md.

Guyot was a leader in the Mississippi movement and worked alongside luminaries like Medgar Evers and Fannie Lou Hamer. He was beaten and jailed for his beliefs and activism but still worked tirelessly and at great personal risk for voter registration of those denied these rights.

He served as director of the 1964 Freedom Summer Project, which brought young people to Mississippi to register voters and chaired the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party that challenged the seating of the all-white delegation at the 1964 Democratic National Convention. While the challenge was unsuccessful, Fannie Lou Hamer famously addressed the convention in a televised appearance.

In 1971, Guyot earned his law degree from Rutgers University and continued his work in Washington, D.C.

Tougaloo College President Beverly W. Hogan said, “Tougaloo College is saddened by the passing of one of its most distinguished and well known alumni, Lawrence Guyot. Born in Pass Christian, Miss., Guyot came to Tougaloo College when he was only 17 and graduated in 1963.

“Like so many other Tougaloo alumni, he was a courageous and fearless leader who fought and risked his own life in the service of equality and democracy, ultimately playing an instrumental role in changing, not only the state, but also the nation.”

Guyot was a member of the board of directors of the Veterans of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement, Inc., which recently relocated to the historic Tougaloo College campus. This organization preserves the true history of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement, educating and motivating young people about this history, creating an open space for dialogue on the critical rights issues affecting the African American community and using the lessons learned from all of the human rights struggles especially in the deep south, and particularly in Mississippi. The organization’s objective is to open minds and help create a truly just society.

Derrick Johnson, president of the Mississippi State Conference NAACP and a 1993 graduate of Tougaloo College, said, “Lawrence Guyot leaves behind a legacy of activism.  He was part of a generation of Tougaloo College students who demonstrated the need to be involved and engaged in the improvement of the lives of all citizens. His strength and courage left the college, the state and the nation a better place.”

Hollis Watkins, president of Southern Echo and chairman of the board of trustees of the Veterans of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement, Inc., added, “Lawrence was a serious and dedicated civil rights worker who was not afraid to face the opposition, even in the face of death. Nothing deterred him from doing whatever needed to be done to liberate oppressed people.”

For more information on the memorial ceremony, contact Tougaloo College at 601-977-7871.