Eleanor [Roosevelt] was always adopting, especially young southern men from–to sort of bring them along, so I was one of her last protégés before she, before she died.

Charles Marsh: Well, what was the–did you end up going to Highlander on the weekend with your father?

Bob Zellner: Oh yes, I did. And there was another opportunity to meet–I had met some of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) people already because I’d had some experience with the freedom rides when I came to Montgomery, but I met some of the other SNCC people then. And then–and also, Miles Horton invited me to work at Highlander that summer, so once I graduated I had a place to go to, I was gonna spend the summer after graduation at Highlander, which to me was a perfect bridge between my life before SNCC and SNCC because it was summer. My little brother also was a camper at Highlander that summer, so I was a counselor and a lifeguard, you know, this that and the other and my little brother, my baby brother was one of the campus.

CM: Was Miles an influential person in your life?

BZ: Very much so, Miles and the whole–Septima Clark, the whole Highlander bunch, Amy Horton and well, I didn’t know Sylvia. But that was the last year that Highlander was a legal facility. It was destroyed that winter after that. That was the last program they had there. So, it was – and I got to know Eleanor Roosevelt and so forth. When I tell undergraduates now that I know Eleanor Roosevelt, I knew Eleanor Roosevelt, and she wrote about me in her last book, they think it’s like knowing Abraham Lincoln, you know? (CM laughs).

CM: Did she write about you?

BZ: Yes, she wrote about me in her last book, it was called Now is Tomorrow, or Tomorrow is Now, something like that.  It was published posthumously but she writes about me as one of the young southerners. And you know, Eleanor was always adopting, especially young southern men from–to sort of bring them along, so I was one of her last protégés before she, before she died.

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