Stanford University The Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute
Lawrence Guyot, Civil Rights activist, died Thursday
November 27, 2012

Born in Pass Christian, Mississipi, Lawrence Guyot became involved in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee while attending Tougaloo College. While with SNCC Guyot organized efforts to increase voter registration among African Americans in Mississippi during the early 1960s.

Guyot also served as chairman for the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, which was created as an integrated alternative to the all-white state Democratic Party. The Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party lost its bid in 1964, but in the process it had focused national attention on the issue of voting rights.

Ever-willing to sacrifice for the movement, Guyot often endured physical hardships in his drive for civil rights. He was beaten numerous times by law enforcement and in 1963 he lost over 100 pounds while on a hunger strike in a Mississippi penitentiary.

Guyot continued his involvement in politics throughout his life. In 1966 he ran for Congress as an anti-war candidate, and served as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1968.

In 2004, Guyot summarized his involvement in civil rights by saying "There is nothing like having risked your life with people over something immensely important to you."

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To read more about the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, click here

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