Sally Belfrage: A Love on the Left

     Author Sally Belfrage died of cancer in London on March
13 at the much-too-young age of 57, leaving us four books to
cry for. She also left a shining example of how to look for
truth even when it's unpopular or inconvenient.
     Daughter of British-born journalist Cedric Belfrage, an
editor of the Guardian newspaper who was deported from the
U.S. as a subversive in the McCarthy years, Sally grew up
with the FBI knocking at the door. At the age of 21 she
published A Room in Moscow, about five months working for a
Russian publishing house. Then she joined the 1964
Mississippi Summer Project -- where I also worked -- as a
civil rights volunteer in Greenwood, out of which came
Freedom Summer (not to be confused with a book of the same
name by Doug McAdam). It was, it is, full of her own sharp
eye, humor, and love for the people of Mississippi.
     Some years later Sally went to study with other women
under a noted guru in India and then to write Flowers of
Emptiness: Reflections on an Ashram; she celebrates the non-
rational but also critiques what she sees as a "boundless
ego trip to lose the ego." On another exploration, Sally
travelled to Northern Ireland and wrote Living With War: A
Belfast Year (U.S. title). Her ability to hear working class
people, and to record their reality with all its
contradictions, lights up this last powerful, painful book.
We salute you, Sally, for your courage, your surprises, your
word magic. --Elizabeth Martínez, for CrossRoads