Pic Of The Day #796

In 1964 — at the height of the civil rights movement — Westporter Tracy Sugarman traveled to Mississippi. He was part of the brutal Freedom Summer.

Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner and James Chaney were in his training class. On his 2nd day there, they disappeared. They were never seen alive again.

An artist and writer, Sugarman wove that experience — and many more in the South — into his works. Fannie Lou Hamer, and many other civil rights leaders, visit him often, at his Owenoke home.

Dennis Jackson attended Staples High School during that era. He now lives in Wilton. The other day, on a tour of he new Mississippi Civil Rights Museum in Jackson, he spotted this tribute to Tracy Sugarman.

(Photos/Dennis Jackson)

12 responses to “Pic Of The Day #796

  1. If anyone wants to see and hear an hour of Tracy talking about his life and work, you can check out his archive from the Westport Library, part of the 50 documentary archives about Westport working artists called Years in the Making” (by documentarian Martin West.)

  2. Makanah Dunham Morriss

    I remember when he brought Fannie Lou Hammrt to Westport that summer. There was a gathering in he Fellowship Hall of the Saugatucl Congregational Church where he introduced her, she spoke and we sang “We Shall Overcome.” The next day many of us walked up and down Compo Beach asking Westporters to sign in support of the work. Some did. Some refused. I was a college student at the time and was shocked that any refused. His work was a gift to all.

  3. Dennis, thanks for sharing.

  4. Caroline Howe

    An extraordinary man.

  5. Linda Pomerantz Novis

    That long-ago summer of 1964, our mom had explained Tracy Sugarman’s civil rights movement in the situation in Mississippi; both my sister,Nora,& I (ten & twelve) then wanted to contribute
    $$ to this; we then set up a card table on our street (High Meadow Rd. off Lyon’s Plains Rd.,Weston) we then sold some of our dad’s old neckties, old business shirts to passing motorists on Lyons Plains Rd. there! (:-)
    We then proudly sent the proceeds to Tracy Sugarman’s Westport office.

  6. Deb Holliday Kintigh

    WONDERFUL, Dennis and Dan!
    Tracy made such a difference in the lives of so many!

  7. This is great. One day, when my daughter was in 3rd grade, I picked her up from Naramake elementary school. As she got in the car she said, “I have to do my biography assignment on someone you’ve probably never heard of: Fannie Hamer.”
    I said, not only have I heard of her, I have a friend who was her friend. Of course Tracy was more than happy to speak with my (then) 8 year old. He was the best.

  8. Susan Schaefer

    Thank you Dennis.

  9. Laurie Sugarman-Whittier

    Thank you Dennis, and Dan for posting this! I am so appreciative that people remember the contributions my father made to this country. I am looking forward to getting to Jackson this fall to see the museum myself. I also was thrilled to be in Westport yesterday for the dedication of the Tracy Sugarman conference room, a lovely space looking out over the River. My dad would have loved it!

  10. Deb Holliday Kintigh

    Laurie Sugarman-Whittier……💚❤️💜

  11. Roger Kaufman

    I met Tracey and June in 1960, at our house on North Avenue.
    They were frequent guests in our home.Our family loved Tracey and enjoyed being his friend. He became a hero figure to many…especially to me. His work, his talents, his tireless efforts for civil/human rights, equality and justice for all, passion, charm and smile…all were unforgettable.

    He became a hero figure to many…especially to me. He set the bar for the word mensch….AND he loved all good music.

    Only a few years ago, in our attic- i re-discovered 2 copies of a 1950’s record album he illustrated…and wrote liner notes… which belonged to his friend Ottilie Kaufman, my mother. Ottilie and Tracy were friends…for all good reasons.Ottilie gave Billie Holiday (then unknown) a lovely dress she wore at her first gig out of Harlem (Cafe Society) owned by friends Barney Josephson and John Hammond.
    Not knowing if either of his children had copies of these, i gave them both to Tracy. He and best pal Bill Buckley,were just “hanging” at Westport’s “Blue Parrot were groovin’ to a favorite local jazz singer, Maydie Myles…on a Sunday afternoon. He beamed with joy, thanked me and told me he wasnt sure they had any of his old record jacket illustrations- but would share them…giving me a hug. I hope he did.
    Tracy passed a few months later. May he rest in peace.
    As they say about “the cats” in the jazz world.. “they get no better!”

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