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Cheryl Reitan

Writing has the power to emotionally enter people's minds. History and stories stimulate the mind with challenges, adversity, beauty, and new ideas.

Writer and Editor

Thunder of Freedom: Black Leadership and the Transformation of 1960s Mississippi. by Sue Sojourner with Cheryl Reitan. Published by University Press of Kentucky, January 2013. Civil Rights and the Struggle for Black Equality in the Twentieth Century series. About Thunder of Freedom | Facebook | Order the Book

FROM UNIVERSITY PRESS OF KENTUCKY: The world’s eyes were on Mississippi during the summer of 1964 when civil rights activists launched an ambitious African American voter registration project and were met with violent resistance from white supremacists. Sue Sojourner and her husband arrived in Holmes County, Mississippi in the wake of this historic time, known as “Freedom Summer.”

From September, 1964 until her departure from the state in 1969, Sojourner collected an incredible number of documents, oral histories, and photographs chronicling the dramatic events that she witnessed. In this remarkable book, written in collaboration with Cheryl Reitan, Sojourner presents a fascinating portrait of the civil rights movement in one of the most active and broad-based community organizing operations in the South.

Thunder of Freedom unites Sojourner’s personal experiences with her insights regarding the dynamics of race relations in the 1960s South, providing readers with a unique look at the struggle for rights and equality in Mississippi. Historian John Dittmer said, " Cheryl Reitan contributed her considerable talents as a writer and editor." Illustrated with selections from Sojourner’s acclaimed catalog of photographs, this profound book tells the powerful, often intimate stories of ordinary people who accomplished extraordinary things.

Sue [Lorenzi] Sojourner is a veteran of the civil rights movement who worked with the citizens of Holmes County, Mississippi from fall 1964 through summer 1969 to achieve racial equality. She has produced two photography exhibitions using reproductions of her original 1960s photographs. She lives in Duluth, Minnesota.

Cheryl Reitan is a university administrator and the editor of the alumni magazine for the University of Minnesota Duluth. She has published short stories and articles in numerous literary and professional journals.

Short Stories

• “Ghost Feathers,” Trail Guide: A Northland Experience in Poetry and Prints, Duluth, Minnesota, 2008

• “Commune," Circular Muse, chapbook, Duluth, Minnesota, Spring 2003

• “Regret," The Roaring Muse, University of Minnesota Duluth, Duluth, Minnesota, Spring 2003

• “Sliding,” Dust & Fire, Bemidji State University, Bemidji, Minnesota, Spring 2002

• “Book Passage,” Sophie’s Wind, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Winter 2002


Wounded Earth (unpublished) excerpt


Wounded Earth, excerpt, Soap Factory Gallery, Minneapolis, March, 2010

Trail Guide Author’s Reading, Northern Prints Gallery, Duluth, September, 2008

• Lake Superior Writers Members’ Reading, Quaker Meeting House, Duluth, June, 2008

• Amazon Books, Minneapolis, Nov. 2004, April, 2007

• Lake Superior Writers Members’ Reading, Washington Studios, December, 2006

• Lake Superior Writers Members’ Reading, Playground Theater, November, 2005

• University of Minnesota Duluth, Duluth, Minnesota, November, 2002

• Bemidji State University, Bemidji, Minnesota, March 2002

Writing Instructor

• Gender and Culture, Psychology Class, PSY 2223, team taught with Prof. Paula Pedersen, University of Minnesota Duluth, Spring Semester 2010

• “The Silver Pen,” University for Seniors, University of Minnesota Duluth, October 2008 - 2009

• “Feature Writing: the Art and Craft,” University for Seniors, University of Minnesota Duluth, January-May 2008

• “Feature Writing: the Art and Craft,” Lake Superior Writers, Duluth, February 2, 2008

• “Using Details in Writing,” Artcroft, Carlisle, Kentucky, April, 2003

• Co-facilitator, Lake Superior Writers, prose and poetry writing group, 2002-2011


• Artcroft, Carlisle, Kentucky, 2002, 2003

• Norcroft, Lutsen, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005

• Hambidge Center for the Arts, Rabun Gap, Georgia, 2002, 2003

• Nantucket Island Center for the Arts, Nantucket, Massachusetts, 2002

• Wellspring House, Massachusetts, 2002


• Program Coordinator for the Duluth Writers’ Workshop 1999 and 2001 working with the workshop director Professor Joseph Maiolo and writers Patricia Weaver Francisco, Fred Chappell, David Bradley, Robert Olen Butler, and Henry Taylor.

• Board Member, Lake Superior Writers, 2002-2008


• A synopsis of Wounded Earth was featured in Spring 2004 issue of the Walker Art Center newsletter, Minneapolis, Minnesota

• Reviewer and essayist for 2004-07


Writer's Links


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© Cheryl Reitan