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Letter to Mom and Dad from Bonnie

June 27

Dear Mom and Dad,
This letter is hard to write because I would like so much to communicate how I feel and I don’t know if I can. It is very hard to answer to your attitude that if I loved you I wouldn’t do this – hard, because the thought is cruel. I can only hope you have the sensitivity to understand that I can both love you very much and desire to go to Mississippi. I have no way of demonstrating my love. It is simply a fact and that is all I can say…

I hope you will accept my decision even if you do not agree with me. There comes a time when you have to do things which your parents do not agree with … Convictions are worthless in themselves. In fact, if they don’t become actions, they are worse than worthless – they become a force of evil in themselves. You can’t run away from a broadened awareness… if you try, it follows you in your conscience, or you become a self-deceiving person who has numbed some of his humanness. I think you have to live to the fullest extent to which you have gained an awareness or you are less than the human being you are capable of being … This doesn’t apply just to civil rights or social consciousness but to all the experiences of life…

Love, Bonnie


Elizabeth Sutherland, ed. Letters from Mississippi, (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1965), 22.

Date / time
June 22, 1964
Martinez, Elizabeth Sunderland
McGraw-Hill Book Company
Letters from Mississippi
Date published

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Letter to Mom and Dad from Bonnie." (Viewed on October 13, 2015) <>.


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