“My Summer Working for Martin Luther King, Jr.” | A Presentation by Lanny Kaufer

Event Details

On Wednesday, May 9, 2018, at 7 p.m., Jewish Community of Ojai will host Lanny Kaufer and his multimedia presentation, “My Summer Working for Martin Luther King, Jr.”  Kaufer will share the experiences he had in the Voting Rights Movement, including meeting and volunteering for Dr. King in the South in 1965. The presentation centers on a slideshow of approximately 200 slides, many of which have music embedded to represent the “soundtrack” of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s. Kaufer also sings, raps, and plays guitar and harmonica to add more musical flavor to the program.

In 1964 Kaufer volunteered for Dr. King’s SCOPE Project (Summer Community Organization and Political Education), a Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) initiative designed by Dr. King to educate, organize, and register voters in the South just as the 1965 Voting Rights Act was passed.  He served in southern Virginia where he was fortunate to meet and shake hands with Dr. King after hearing one of his speeches. The local SCOPE Project which Kaufer and his team helped to establish was able to extend the hours of voter registration, register new voters, and launch an Improvement Association that is still going strong today.

The son of a Holocaust refugee, Kaufer will also discuss Jewish contributors to the Civil Rights Movement such as Rabbis Abraham Heschel and Joachim Prinz and share socially conscious music of the era. JCO member Sharon West, who was at “Ole Miss” in 1962 when James Meredith became the first African-American student admitted to the segregated university, will introduce Lanny.

The event is free and open to the public with donations accepted. For more information, please visit www.ojaitemple.org or call JCO member Sharon West at 301-661-1466.

Calendar Listing:

  • “My Summer Working for Martin Luther King Jr.,” a multimedia presentation by Lanny Kaufer
  • Jewish Community of Ojai, 530 W. El Roblar Dr., Meiners Oaks
  • Wednesday, May 9, 2018. Presentation begins at 7 p.m.
  • Open to the public. Free admission with donations accepted.
  • For info visit www.ojaitemple.org or call JCO member Sharon West at 301-661-1466

Biography of Lanny Kaufer

Lanny Kaufer is a musician, songwriter, retired Santa Paula High School teacher, and part-time university professor from Ojai, CA. The son of a Holocaust refugee, he was raised to respect all cultures and to stand up against prejudice and discrimination. Lanny has a long history as a non-violent social activist which began with his participation in the Free Speech Movement on University of California campuses in 1964. His commitment to social change became more serious when, as a freshman at UC Santa Barbara in the Fall of 1964, he heard Rev. Hosea Williams speak about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s new voter registration project scheduled for the summer of ’65. Lanny volunteered for the SCOPE Project (Summer Community Organization and Political Education), a Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) program designed to educate, organize, and register voters in the South just as the Voting Rights Act was passed.

Lanny served in southern Virginia where he was fortunate to meet and shake hands with Dr. King after hearing one of his speeches. The local SCOPE Project in which Lanny worked was able to extend the hours of voter registration, register voters, and establish an Improvement Association that is still going strong today. He was greatly inspired by the courage and determination of the local African-American community who took great risks to earn the right to vote.

After a 50-year reunion of the SCOPE Project in Atlanta in 2015, a non-profit organization was formed called SCOPE50. Lanny is a member of the Board of Directors of this group committed to continuing the voting rights work and education begun by Dr. King.

Today, Lanny and his wife Rondia are adult advisors of the Ojai Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Committee. Lanny is also an associate member of Veterans for Peace, and supporter of Greenpeace, the Native American Rights Fund, the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy, and several other organizations dedicated to peace, social justice, and environmental restoration.

The experiences he had in 1965-66 in the Civil Rights Movement, his subsequent involvement in nonviolent social actions in the peace and environmental movements, and the music that accompanied those movements are the subjects of his musical multimedia presentations for schools, colleges, and community groups entitled “Martin Luther King and the Spirit of the ‘60s” and “My Summer Working for Martin Luther King, Jr.”

Lanny is listed in the Veterans Roll Call on the Civil Rights Movement Veterans website at www.crmvet.org/vet/vethome.htm – vets-k. His article on the UC Santa Barbara SCOPE Project is at www.crmvet.org/nars/kaufer1.htm.

Other Internet links about Lanny Kaufer:



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