Photo credits: Leni Sinclair/Getty Images
Lawrence Guyot (pictured), a civil rights advocate, was born in Pass Christian, Mississippi, on July 17, 1935.
Guyot’s brutal beatings at the hands of white police officers as a young civil rights activist helped lay the groundwork for the Voting Rights Act of 1965. His life as a young adult was defined by the extreme injustice he fought against and experienced himself. This is what made his commitment to advocacy so genuine.
Guyot traveled to free civil rights leader Fannie Lou Hamer and two other people who had been detained in Winona, Mississippi when they entered an all-white bus terminal. After asking about violent treatment while in custody, nine police officers pistol-whipped Guyot. He was stripped naked by the white officers who brutalized him.
The dirty cops also threatened to apply heated metal to Guyot’s genitals. The relentless assault continued until a doctor told the rogue officers to stop. Guyot received another vicious beating at the hands of the corrupt law enforcers when the doctor left the scene.
Guyot founded the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee while a college student, and he encouraged African-Americans in Mississippi to cast ballots. Guyot graduated from Rutgers University with a law degree in 1971, after which he relocated to Washington, D.C., where he worked to elect Marion Barry as mayor.
In 2004, he said there was nothing like risking his life alongside others for something that was immensely important, such as the Civil Rights Movement. Guyot passed away in 2012 at his Mount Rainer, Maryland, home.
He was 73 years of age at the time of his death.