FAIRHOPE, Ala. (WKRG) — At a time when most 83-year-olds might have long ago begun to take it easy, long-time civil rights activist Bob Zellner is still working.
“We do consulting with universities, colleges, political campaigns, and also people who are writing history, so that’s what we do full time,” said Zellner.
Zellner is partnered with his wife, Pamela Smith, to stay in front of what he calls a new era for civil rights. They work all over the country but right now, primarily in seven states in the south and midwest.
“The states that are very close in the vote between the Republicans and the Democrats, which we see as the progressives and the ones that want to go backward in American history,” he said.
And Zellner is no stranger to history. His book, ‘The Wrong Side of Murder Creek,’ tells his story of being a white man from the south — an Alabama native, Murphy High Graduate — and his involvement in the civil rights movement. The movie, Son of the South, is based on his book.
The height of the civil rights era was a worrisome time for Zellner. Today is no different, he says, with overt efforts of some to restrict access to the voting booth.
“So there’s a group in our country who want to do away with voting,” said Zellner. “That means doing away with democracy, but the majority don’t want that. And we’re about the business of organizing that majority to take back its power.”
And Zellner and Smith show no signs of slowing down, as long as there remain wrongs to be righted.
“I’ve tried to actually stop, but you can’t. We’re like the old horses that used to pull the fire engine, when the bell rings you charge out of the stable and go to where the fire is.”
And Zellner says right now, there are plenty of fires.