Lessons Learned in the Freedom Movement
A Discussion
April, 2015

Recorded at "Past & Present: a Gathering With Freedom Movement Veterans at Stanford University," April 11, 2015.

If you were part of the Southern Freedom Movement, and are listed in the Veterans Roll Call, you are encouraged to add your comments to this discussion by emailing them to webmaster@crmvet.org. If you add a comment, please indicate where in the transcript it should be inserted.]


Miriam Glickman (Facilitator)   Ken McKay
Louis ArmandDaphne Muse
Bruce HartfordEllen Pechman
Marion KwanJonathan Steele
Patricia (Patty) McKayArlene Stevens


Lessons: Patty McKayLessons: Daphne Muse
Lessons: Louis ArmandLessons: Ellen Pechman
Lessons: Marian KwanLessons: John Steele
Lessons: Ken McKayLessons — General Discussion
Lessons: Arlene StevensNonviolence
Lessons: Bruce HartfordBeloved Community
Lessons: Miriam Glickman    

Miriam: Well, we can go ahead and start, OK? While people are signing. My name's Miriam, and I am your group leader, and Marion is my assistant. OK. Lessons learned. So we're going to be talking about lessons learned. And we're going to start with the people who actually were down there first, and then we'll extend to everyone. How many of us were down there?

Patty: You mean in the South?

Marion: How many vets are there here, in other words?

[Most people raise their hands.]

Miriam: Well, that's pretty good.

Marion: Are you a vet?

Ken: I did all my work in the North.

Marion: Ah, you're a Northern vet. [Laughter]

Arlene: Well, with consideration to equality, I think that North and South should be considered as vets and not distinguish that. That's just my opinion.

Patty: I agree.

Bruce: Well, I think we have a small enough group that — 

Patty: Everybody can talk.

Bruce: Yeah. So we should probably jump in.

Miriam: OK. I'm going to suggest no cross-talk for the first part, that you get to talk without anybody interrupting you. So who would like to start?

Lessons: Patty McKay

Patty: I could start. I was involved in Maryland and Virginia and Washington, D.C. And my group was NAG (Nonviolent Action Group), and we became the NAG under SNCC in 1961. I got started in 1960.

I actually jotted down a few notes, and so I have about — and it's only two minutes long, but six lessons learned, and the important ones are first.

Number one, the nonviolent strategy. I know we might disagree on this, but I feel it's very important, and the reasons, there's a lot of them, but I'll give you a few. It captures the hearts and minds of people, and it attracts more participants. Then the obvious one with violence — the police and the U.S. government are the experts, so we're never going to beat them that way. I don't think the ends justify the means, but I believe like Dion Diamond always used to day, "The past is prologue." And I know he wasn't the first one to say it, but it's so true.

Number two, having a movement behind you. Now, this is kind of hard to do, but we were lucky in the Civil Rights struggle that we had the Movement. It gave us power; the media was there to cover it; and of course, it brings in support, and it attracts people to join. One example I want to give of this is I was arrested twice in 1960; the first one was a sit-in that we had planned. The second one I was merely walking across the street with Mike Thelwell, a Black man, and we were going to the movies. There was nobody in sight. We crossed the street, and the cops were on us for jaywalking — a serious crime. [laughter] They took us to the police station. They booked us. They were arresting us. And Mike Thelwell said to them, "If you arrest us, I'll have a picket line here in 15 minutes, because I'm the editor of the Howard University newspaper." And then he pointed to me and said, "And she is on the Glen Echo picket line." And they released us. I mean, incredible power because of what people were doing all over the country.

The third one was young people's involvement. The Civil Rights Movement really taught us, because they are the only ones that are fearless and have the courage and the enthusiasm.

The fourth one is local community support. Vital. We were lucky in rural Maryland, especially, to have just a tiny pocket of a liberal community right next to Glen Echo.

[Glen Echo was a segregated amusement park on the Potomac River in Maryland, just outside of Washington DC. When the student-led sit-in movement swept across the South in the spring of 1960, it became an early target of anti-segregation protests by students in the DC and Maryland areas.]

They gave us support. They bailed us out. They fed us. They gave us credibility. They couldn't call us outside agitators. And then it brings diversity, because there's a lot of people in the community. For instance, one guy was the Under-Secretary of Commerce, and he was in the Kennedy administration, and he knew Bobby Kennedy. That helped us a lot, eventually.

And the fifth one is leadership by the most oppressed. Always and vital. It gives you authenticity. It keeps the struggle going in the right direction. It's the passion of the people that are the most affected. Again, you can't be accused of being outside agitators with their own agendas.

And then the very last one is the importance of these longstanding institutions: CORE, SNCC, SCEF, SCLC, NAACP, labor unions for their expertise, support, bail money, picket signs, meeting space, food, etc. And the coordination with movements in other locations.

But I just wanted to say one thing. You've got be beware of these institutions, because they'll also try to control you and limit your activities, because they're worried about their own self-preservation.

Thank you.

Marion: I have a technical question I want to ask. This is Marion. Are we going to talk about lessons learned in the past? And what happens, what we'd like to see in the future? Or is it just right now the past? I'm not sure. I thought it was a two-fold thing. I'm not sure. Is there? So, will we be talking first about the past? And then we get into the future? OK. Thank you.

Lessons: Louis Armand

Miriam: Who would like to go next?

Louis: Well, OK. My name is Lewis Armand. The thing that I found — I'm a Southerner of course, I should say.

The thing that I got out of being a participant, it was almost like — with many people, they were projected into participating. Many people in the North, many people who were non-African American, etc, they became participants based upon their moral courage and their belief in the good of humanity. And I think they wanted to be a part of something that was larger than themselves. And that was a very, very excellent and essential component of the struggle.

With people such as me, on a day to day level, we were faced by this oppression, it was an aspect of learning about the struggles of our people from the past and actually converting those individual insults, moments of oppression, etc, into a collectivity of opposition. And we did this unconsciously, in a sense. Up to a certain point.

For instance, to illustrate, the Montgomery Movement — I remember living in North Carolina as a kid and going to school in segregated schools, but I was the paperboy, 12 years old, for the Baltimore Afro-American and the Pittsburgh Courier newspapers. Very critical institutions in the African-American community, because it knitted the community in a nationwide basis, because those two papers — I think every Black family that could subscribe in every community I knew of did subscribe. Some people subscribed. It kept the community aware of what was going on. And from the Double-V campaign of World War II, up to the Supreme Court's Brown decisions of '54 and '55, to the Montgomery decision, that was followed avidly on a weekly basis by those two papers and the community in general.

[During World War II, Americans were encouraged to display a "V for Victory" poster in their windows as a sign of support for the war effort. Race-conscious Afro-Americans adopted a "Double-V" campaign — meaning victory against fascism overseas and victory against racism and Jim Crow oppression at home. Many displayed Double-V posters with the slogan "Democracy At Home—Abroad." The Pittsburgh Courier played a leading role in promoting the Double-V campaign. In some parts of the South (and elsewhere) displaying a Double-V poster risked retaliation from white racists.]

So that built up a collective consciousness, and at the right moment, it made it easy under the right leadership, such as the young Dr. King, for people to actually overcome their fears and participate in a local movement that was a critical necessity for their existence. You know, it was something that you had to fight to make life better at a material and a real level in every individual family and every individual in the African-American community. And

what surprised us — very essentially — it was a favorable surprise is that we had so much, not only domestic support, but in Mississippi, we had international support, because I met people from Japan, Germany, England, Australia, all these people — Ireland — you know, we had relations — we had informal relationships with the IRA. And we learned about their struggles.

Of course, we learned about Ho Chi Minh and the Vietnamese people's struggle, which had a very, very significant impact on us. And so the internationalization of our struggle that influenced and encouraged us, and I think it was reciprocal, because our struggle — we didn't know it at the time, but the people in Ireland said that our struggle was such a great component of their overcoming the British colonialism. So it was a mutuality, and it was an internationalization of our struggle. So this is a very significant component of our experience.

Lessons: Marian Kwan

Miriam: Thank you. Next? Who would like to go next?

Marion: I can go. Actually, I was really working on the future, not the past. So let me — no, I can do the past.

I was struck by how important communication is, as individuals belonging to a group and as a group totally, because that sends messages not only to the media, not only to newsletters and newspapers but also to those who are there who are segregationists. And I realized that, that you can go pretty far if you are centered and focused and articulate about what you're all about in the face of your enemies.

And this came about because the director of the group that I was in [Delta Ministry], that I was really absorbing and observing everything he's done. For example, two things I can speak of. One was we had a meeting — we usually had meetings in his house, where all his children are and his wife and it's like a family thing, but that's where we meet. And one time, in the middle of this meeting, there was a phone call, so he had to answer it, and we all had to be quiet. It was just a phone call. He answered it, and we were waiting for him to finish, but it was like, "Hello?' And then after half a minute, "I doubt it." And he hung up. And we said, "What was that about?" That was my first lesson about communication. He said, "Oh, I've been here long enough, and I know that there was a threat to my family and that my house was going to be bombed." "And why did you hang up?" "Because I knew that this certain individual wasn't going to do it."

So to me, my lesson at that time was that he really understood his community. He really understood the people he was working against. And he had to learn it from a gut feeling, a gut intuition, but also through training about what it must be like to work and stay in that environment for so many years.

And then the second thing I learned was from one of our own freedom workers. We were outside, again, another time outside his house, and we were just mingling out. And it was pretty dark. It was dusk getting to dark, and we were about to go into the house for another meeting. And a group of USM, University of Southern Mississippi, students came up, and were about to engage in some kind of ruckus with us. And they were pretty hostile. After we realized this was going to happen, one of us, one of the guys from us, he reached out his hand and said, "Hey, I'm Joe. What's your name?" And "Yeah, well, yeah, we are going to have a meeting. Why don't you join us?" And they ended up coming and talking. We ended up having a meeting together, but that was again on a gut feeling.

So to me, what I've learned from the Movement, is that we did a lot of marches; we did a lot of sit-ins; we did a lot of voter registration, etc. But I think what came out of it for me and probably for the people who lived there, the politicians and the people who are ministers and teachers there who are from the town, probably learned more about our group than we learned about them because of the impact. That's it. Thank you.

Lessons: Ken McKay

Miriam: Thank you. Who would like to go next?

Ken: I guess I'll go next. I did all of my work locally in and around Ann Arbor [MI]. And I grew up there, from eighth grade through my Master's degree. And one of the things that I learned is that once you get involved in a movement such as the Civil Rights Movement, where you think that the problems are down there in the South, you find out that it's more subtle but just as difficult in the North, in a liberal community than it is anywhere else. We had a number of examples of that.

The other thing is that even though the town was not officially segregated, there wasn't much cross-racial communication. But there was, I think looking back on it, on some of the Black leaders of the time or Black — let me give you an example. I had a morning paper route, and the guy who came from the distributor and delivered my papers every morning at, I don't know, 5:30 or 6 o'clock, was African-American, and he was also a leader in our Boy Scout troop and was very popular. And a number of the troop went down with him as a leader to a jamboree, I forget where it was, someplace in the South, Alabama or Georgia, and they found out that Archie couldn't sit with them in the front of the bus. And so they said, "All right. We're gonna sit with Archie. We'll sit in the back of the bus too."

And little incidents like that helped to show us — I mean, I was what, 15 or 16 at the time? Helped to show us what the situation was, as it affected somebody that we all liked a lot. And we had a number of situations where it ended up that we were finding housing discrimination in Ann Arbor, or I had mentioned earlier Dearborn, Michigan, which was a very segregated town at the time and was noted for it, trying to do something about that. And then there was housing discrimination in a suburb of Ann Arbor and things like that, so we kept finding out about issues that were local that were not at the surface of things but were there all the time.

And our support work for the Southern Movement started opening our eyes so that we started looking at the local situation, and one of the things that I remember is that at the university we had a conference on discrimination in the North. This would've been the spring of 1960, I think, and a lot of the people then went that summer to the Port Huron conference, and SDS [Students for a Democratic Society] came out of that.

So the more overt racism and segregation that was going on in the South opened a lot of our eyes, and then we started looking at home and saying, "Well, things aren't so great here either, and we've got to do something here." So that's it.

Miriam: Thank you.

Lessons: Arlene Stevens

Arlene: My story centers around the area of New York where I'm from originally. And I'll go back to my childhood when my siblings and I were young, and we traveled once to the South from New York. My parents are both from the South, different states. And as children, we weren't exposed to the same type of overt discrimination. There was, of course, discrimination in the North, as you mentioned, but it wasn't the same as in the South. It wasn't as overt, although it was just as strong, and it was still there in different ways.

So traveling by car to the South, we experienced discrimination when we would stop at gas stations to use the restrooms, and this was all very foreign to us children. But our parents understood it, and they recognized it, and they knew about it. So we never really talked about it to that extent, but when things happen like that, and you're a child, it's in your memory. Who knows when it will surface? If it'll surface at all? But it's always there.

And then we would vacation sometimes in Canada. We would go North, and we just noticed the difference and reception when we would stop at motels and gas stations. And we would see the difference there. So a lot of these things, I think, we need to recognize are a part of us whether we can verbalize it or not. It is a part of our being. It's almost a part of our DNA. In fact, some people would say that once it happens to you, it's always in your DNA. So it's very, very strong and very powerful, more so than I think we realize without looking into it from, I would guess I could say, a holistic point of view or a medicinal point of view. I mean, it's in your DNA, you know, a biologic maybe is a better word than medicinal point of view.

So these things we grew up with. So when it came time for the March on Washington in Washington, D.C., my siblings and friends and I, we just knew instinctively almost that this is a place that we needed to go to show support. And so we did that. To this day, I could not tell you how I learned about it, how we learned about it, but this shows the importance of word of mouth. So of course we didn't have internet at that time, but I think it shows you that not only do you need to be in touch with people via the traditional sources, communicative sources, but also by word of mouth, and that is very, very powerful. So I would like to keep that in mind.

And also know that there are things in us that we might not be able to explain, that are instinctive, and those things are important too. We might not be able to pinpoint it and say, "I'm doing it because of A, B, and C,' but you feel it inside and you react accordingly.

Lessons: Bruce Hartford

Miriam: Bruce, you want to go first? Or do you want me to go first?

Bruce: No, I'll go. So I also made notes, like Patty did. And we had hoped that there would be Stanford student activists participating in these, so the notes that I made were essentially lessons I learned that I would like to convey to people who are active today. So I don't know if that's past or future, but that's what I'm gonna do.

Woman: It's both.

Bruce: And the first one is I have the same first one that Patty had, which is the importance and fundamental necessity of nonviolence and nonviolent strategies. But I will say that when I say nonviolence, I mean tactical, strategic nonviolence not philosophical nonviolence.

I know there were always these big issues about self-defense. I never had any conflict about that. I could perfectly see self-defense against the Klan in the same context as nonviolence on a protest. It was not a contradiction to me, which is one reason I'm probably still alive.

The second lesson is that in all human endeavors, leadership is present. If there are three people trying to decide what movie to go to, somebody is taking the lead. So I completely reject the whole concept of anti-leadership, that there is no leadership, that we'll all do everything by consensus. All that means is that the real leadership that does exist is covert and hidden, rather than overt where it can be held responsible and taken into account. So I do not like the — I've tried to work with Occupy and the anti-leadership; there are no leaders type groups. But that does not match my experience, and I don't think it's a way you can build a responsible movement.

I think, following right out of that is I believe in democracy, small "d" democracy, where everyone has a right to speak; issues are debated, but then there's a vote. And the minority agrees to go along, because of democratic principles, that you make a decision, and everyone carries it out, even if it wasn't what they voted for. Rather than trying to come to some mythical consensus which is really a consensus manufactured by those people who are best able to manipulate a meeting. In my experience.

And that brings us then to the next thing, the lesson that I learned, is you cannot build an effective movement without discipline. And by discipline I don't mean an authority punishing; I mean self-discipline and commitment. And that includes the self-discipline to say, "I'm with a group. We're trying to do something. I lost the vote. I will carry out what the group decided."

And not decided in an endless meeting, but in a meeting that is short enough that people who have jobs and children can actually participate in it.

I think that two other lessons are that you have to have a mass strategy, that is, a strategy that aims at getting the maximum amount of support you can get from masses of people, even if you're a small group. And in order to do that, you to put forward positions and objects of your struggle that are within the realm of peoples' belief. So, for example, in the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the first demands of the Montgomery Bus Boycott were not to end segregation; they were to have a more humane form of segregation. But the struggle educated and radicalized people.

And the last thing I'll say that I've learned is that movements build followings and become mass movements not because of the ideology or the intellectual brilliance of the leaders, but because of their, the leader's, character.

Lessons: Miriam Glickman

Miriam: I would like to welcome out two new people and get your names.

Daphne: Daphne Muse.

Ellen: And I'm Ellen Pechman.

Miriam: Hi, Daphne and Ellen. Just a quick reminder. We are doing the initial five minutes on lessons learned. And there is no cross talk for this. And any time you speak, be sure to give your name first. So I'm going to go next, and then you two can have your turn.

The lessons I learned, I think the biggest thing was how to organize. They actually trained us on how you organize. In addition to what we learned on our project, we went up to Highlander [Folk School, today Highlander Center] and did a whole workshop on community organizing.

And just to simply state it is, we went in pairs, walking around in the Black community in both Georgia and Mississippi and knocked on doors. Now a lot of the time, no one was home. A lot of times, someone was home because you could see they pulled the side of the shade just a little to peak and see, and they did not let us in. But sometimes, they invited us in. And what we did when we had a chance to sit down and talk with people was try to find out what they wanted. We didn't come and say, "This is the program." We tried to listen. And we learned a lot by just listening to what was important to people in the community.

Our goal was to try to get people to come to the mass meetings which were held in the churches at night so that they would then be part of the Movement. And the leaders, would be out there speaking, there would be singing, and they'd be part of a community. So that was the main skill I learned.

When I was a young mom with toddlers, and I lived on a street where the traffic was just going too fast, I enlisted a friend, and she and I went around door to door in the neighborhood. Since we were in a suburb, and the town government was not antagonistic to us, we went down and talked to them to find out what we needed to do to get a couple of stop signs, speed bumps, something, to slow down the traffic. And we organized our whole neighborhood.

Our town Lafayette, California was not giving any neighborhoods stop signs or speed bumps. We got two stop signs, because we knew how to organize. And that was what I learned to do in Georgia and Mississippi.

So, other things. I learned a different attitude toward government than I had gotten in my four years of college. And there is a guy named Jack Minnis who needs to be mentioned. He would write us every week or two about things going on in the country and teach us to look at who benefits? If there's something happening in the country, who benefits from that? In whose interest is it? And it's helped me through the years.

[See Life With Lyndon in the Great Society for some examples of Jack Minnis' reports.]

I have friends who get upset about this thing our government is doing and that thing our government is doing, and I learned to be able to say, "That's the government we have. There's no surprise there that they're doing this, and they're doing that." And that's helped me kind of keep on an even keel with things.

I also learned what it meant to be poor. My mother had told us we were poor. She had grown up during the Depression, and we were poorer than the community that we lived in. But we were not poor. I did not know what poor was until I was in Mississippi.

We learned that we could do what needed to be done. You didn't have to have this degree or this apprenticeship you'd gone through. For example, if we wanted some information on a federal program, we researched it.

Afterwards, when I left SNCC, I had to decide what marketable skill I had. In SNCC, you didn't think in those terms. If something needed to be done, you tried to do it. Somebody said something about that this morning, about Jim Foreman telling him to do something. He did it.

OK, Daphne or Ellen? Which one wants to go first?

Lessons: Daphne Muse

Daphne: Lessons learned. I have four big lessons that I took away from the Movement that I continue to use: strategic thinking, capacity building, coalitions and the importance of coalitions and allies, and how power rolls.

And when I went to the first SNCC meeting to hear Diane Nash and James Lawson, the skin on my skull was peeled back. I had never heard people speak so fiercely, so brilliantly, and so tactically. And how they spoke in ways that translated into action. And being in Nashville at that time, I saw how their actions translated. So that kind of strategic thinking, the seed for that was really planted, I think, at that moment when I went to that first meeting. And to hear it applied not only in terms of the Movement but also [later in] the Anti-War Movement, that theirs were the first voices that I really heard around the Anti-War Movement and really listened to very, very carefully and developed a tremendous respect for.

Out of through working there, and then later on in Mississippi, I saw what it meant to build capacity, especially within the Black community, because it wasn't a community that I thought that there was tremendous capacity in, until I went to college. I did begin to see it there, but it really built even more when I worked in Mississippi, that here were people who could not read, who could not write, but had the capacity to organize, had the capacity to speak passionately and informatively about transforming their own lives and then again put that into action.

The third was the development of coalitions, which really helped me when I started teaching at Mills College. I started there in 1975. Mills was basically a plantation at that point. And I had to work with colleagues who were super resistant to the concept of ethnic studies. And one of my greatest enemies became my fiercest ally. And that work of us both transforming, because I hated white people. I was a heavy-revvy Black Nationalist. That point of transformation for both of us is something that we continue to talk about, and now she works in Afghanistan developing curriculum for girls and she still calls upon me for counsel and ideas and vice versa.

The fourth thing is I really, really, really got a clear understand of how power rolls. I got glimpses of it growing up in Washington, D.C., but my interactions with the FBI told me everything I needed to know about how power worked, who worked it, who controlled it, and in my senior year of college, the NSA came to recruit at Fisk. And I got a glimpse into it. I asked my father what that was, and I'd never heard of it, and he started asking me a lot of questions about why they were there.

And he was the one who educated me on more of what they did, because my father was a butler in Washington, D.C. And as an invisible servant, he heard and saw a lot. And I learned a lot from him.

Bruce: NSA, National Security Agency or National Student Association?

Daphne: Yes! National Security Agency. That's an important point to make, yes.

So those four things. The strategic thinking, the capacity building, the development of coalition and allies, and how power rolls are the four things that were my strongest lessons, combined with a fifth lesson, the absolutely unyielding love that I have for my people.

Lessons: Ellen Pechman

Miriam: Daphne, thank you. Ellen?

Ellen: I actually want to turn this around. I'm not sure whether this is kosher, so tell me if it's not. I would like to turn the question around to the group really, to ask what lessons we have from those days that we want to apply or can apply to today? And I don't know whether you want me to go in that direction?

Miriam: Oh, you get to choose what you say.

Ellen: So my involvement in the world of Civil Rights and the Movement really came as an outsider, not as a Movement person. But within the institutions that I joined. When I was 21, I became a teacher in Washington, D.C., and I was too frightened to get out of the system to actually go South or to stand up. That was in the mid-'60s. I was a classroom teacher in Washington, D.C. first and then in Montgomery County [MD] which was one of the early — was an early integrated area, and I have spent my life in schools that have benefited from the resources that became invested in those early years.

And so I'm always mystified about why the lessons have been so difficult to have learned, and I'm always troubled by the amount of closed minds as I've traveled and journeyed in these spaces. I don't have a good answer, really, about the closed mindedness. And in my immediate circle of friends, my professional years, about 20 years ago, one of my colleagues said to me, "Ellen, don't you realize you have to learn not to speak. Nobody wants to hear. Nobody wants those questions asked." And I was a policy researcher in education. She said, "Just don't even bother.' And that was certainly my experience, that people didn't want the questions that we could have learned from the years of engagement asked in the formal organizations — U.S. government, the public school systems.

I spent eight years in New Orleans as the Director of Research and Evaluation. In the late "70s, early "80s I directed the testing program in a largely Black school district. And there's a lot of pressure to publish the test scores from the white community to prove how bad the schools were. And as the testing director, I tried very hard to resist those kinds of smear tactics. And during that very period, there were more and more African-Americans who were my colleagues, and my immediate supervisor was the first African-American to be Assistant Superintendent over this segment of testing. And she interpreted my actions as trying to hide the data, a white lady trying to hide the data of Black kids from the community.

And so that was a personal experience of confrontation that was extremely interesting, very powerful. Of course I felt she was very wrong, and we found ways of working around it. But it was a great example, as a white woman in a Black world, of what it took for me to deeply understand, more deeply understand, how I could be seen as an enemy just trying to keep the doors closed, even as I was trying to be protective. So that's an experience that I took away with me which comes to the point that I think Miriam you made about learning to be a better listener and to really deeply be willing to and have the capacity to live within another's shoes in everything we do with one another. So I guess that would be my main comment.

Lessons: John Steele

Miriam: Ellen, thank you. Oh, we'd like to welcome — 

John: John Steele.

Miriam: Hi, John. John we are just finishing up the original five minutes that we get uninterrupted on the topic of lessons learned. And can we — I know you've just sat down, but can we invite you to — 

John: OK. Well, I've learned not to take everything that people tell me at first, when something happens, to be the truth. You know, it's sometimes not like it says, because we say one thing and hear about it, by the time it's made it all the way around, it's something different. And that's working back in the "60s and today — more so today.

As an example, the young man that was just found hanging in Mississippi, Otis Berg, the media and everything added he was not sane. He was out of the realm of everybody for a long time. But that's not true. I had to get in to talk to some of his relatives, his family, and his friends to really get the truth, because the papers, as you say, other people want to lead you off on a wild goose chase. And that is more of what's really happening across the bounds of racism now.

There are different reasons why these murders are taking place, because you have to make sure that it's racism and not drug-related. You have to go in and see if it's not domestic violence or something of an old agenda. And I've learned now to investigate, and that's what I have learned.

Bruce: John, earlier in the day, people introduced themselves and what they were doing in the Movement, so perhaps you could tell at least something about the stuff you do in Mississippi with Neshoba [County] and whatever other stuff you want people to know. So people know who each other is.

John: Right. In 1964, my father was the point person for the voter's registration for COFO in Neshoba County, Kemper County, Winston and all the central area. And our family was the last family to see Schwerner, Chaney and Goodman alive on June 21st. And I was put into the position to keep things going after my father and mother passed.

So, what we are doing, I've been joined by Diane Nash and Reverend C.T. Vivian and Ralph Fertig and many others in the Civil Rights Movement to look into the situations down in Mississippi. There are problems in a lot of the area schools, racial mixing, and we hadn't crossed that barrier of getting over the Civil War. And it continues to be a problem in 2015.

And since Obama was elected in 2008, his name rings in the same sentiment as Dr. King's name does in some of the bars and the stores around in the country. And what we've been doing is every year we've been hosting a conference, a caravan, a rally, a march, and we sit down and talk about the martyrs of the Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi who were murdered. We also talk about and try to find others who were murdered during that same time for Civil Rights reasons.

We recently found out that a whole family of eight in southern Mississippi perished because of an altercation that the father had with one of the people who were running for election. The Mississippi Sovereignty Commission reported that they were not missing. The FBI and all of the Civil Rights groups never found those people. They ranged in ages from 40 down to, I think, an arm baby. They have never been found, and we are now looking into that to see if we can find them. And as the weeks go by, as we go through the materials of the Sovereignty Commission's reports and all of the other newspaper findings, we find that there are a lot of people missing. And in Mississippi today, there are some strange things happening.

Lessons — General Discussion

Miriam: Thank you. So the next part has a two-minute limit. We can be a little flexible about that. You can continue more on the same topic, lessons learned. You can talk about what people have said, things that apply today. You can actually talk about anything Movement related. Bruce, you said you had more. Why don't you start with...?

Bruce: I think somebody mentioned it, but I want to reinforce it, that one of the lessons I and others learned in the Freedom Movement is we don't have to ask permission. And in fact, it's better not to ask for permission. We just went and did things. We didn't wait until we had permission from the principal or from mom and dad or from some authority figure. This is something that is very deeply trained in children in school, that you have to ask for permission — 

Man: Raise your hand.

Bruce: — and we in the Movement learned to defy that, and I think it's one of the most important things we learned. And it's stood me in good stead all my life. That I can just go ahead and do something, and if somebody squawks, I'll deal with it when they squawk.

The other thing I wanted to say is that somebody asked E.W. Steptoe, who was one of the main local leaders in Mississippi, "Why did you follow these young SNCC people? You were a grown up, and they were almost children." And he said, "Well, I didn't really understand a lot of what they were talking about, but I respected the way they carried themselves. The way they stood." And what I see is that intellectuals don't get it. That leadership, I think, is really mostly a question of character, not ideology and not your analysis, not your facility with words. I think it's how you carry yourself — your courage, your courtesy, your respect for others. That's what builds movements, not having the "correct line." Obviously, I've had a lot to do with the Left — unhappily.

Louis: Bruce's comments really strike a chord in me, because I believe if a group like SNCC, CORE, even the NAACP, if they hadn't existed as institutions or organized entities you might say — SNCC is considered to be on the left; it's younger; it's more dynamic, and it was attacking the — it wanted to really change the whole system from the ground up, and I think that's what directed them to the grassroots in Mississippi.

In our work, we worked with the — it was so interesting, because one of the ways we incorporated our work was to get out there and dig up the yams when the family we were staying with, we would get out there at 6 o'clock in the morning. And we got the respect of not only the family but the whole community, because hey, these kids are working with us! They understand. So basically, we sort of set an example, because we wanted to transform not only the conditions of oppression, but we wanted to really transform the society. That was in the back of our minds. We didn't know how we were going to do it, and that's why we just tried whatever we had confronting us.

And winning that mass base, that mass support. Another thing, although we weren't aware of it at the time — You know, we learned a lot from the trade union movement, whether it was the coal miners or the sleeping car porters, because it wasn't so much their ideology, although it was that too, but they knew how to get things done in an organized way. And it was a thing where it was open to everybody.

And it just so happened we were in the Black community, but we didn't turn away anybody. If you were with us, you were welcome. So we have that organization; we have that openness, and we had that necessity in the back of our minds that we had to transform and replace the existing system. In Mississippi, it was the plantation system that we knew we had to get rid of. We didn't know how, but we knew that was our ultimate objective.

So your comments about the self discipline, democratic — we called it democratic centralism — we didn't use that term, but that was our method. It was very important to getting a basic consensus around our work so that everybody knew on a basic, day by day, minute by minute basis that we were all in this together, and this is how we were going to win.

And winning was the thing. We knew we were going to win; we didn't know when or how, but we knew we were going to win because we didn't accept no for an answer for anything. And as you said, we didn't ask permission. We did it. [Laughter] See what would happen.

Daphne: I think it is imperative that we constantly remind ourselves of how the lessons are being applied, even in the most microscopic, infinitesimal ways. That we kind of lose sight of the application of the lessons. And that those lessons now exist in the form of archives and repositories, where lots of information about the work that has been done is stored, where lots of that information has been transformed into curriculums and books and films, and where even I see the application of the lesson through the beginning stages of this work that I'm doing with the Black Google Network and connecting them to the SNCC Legacy Project.

And while they don't all have a grasp of the empirical information or the history, they are longing for something that allows them to evolve as leaders. And leadership looks so different now for these emerging generations of young people than it did for us. That it's not about a singular voice anymore, but there are many more voices in the mixes, and they don't get the media attention, but there's a way in which the social media is driving it, that I pay particularly close attention to.

Arlene: My question is, and this is just a comment for us to think about and not necessarily a particular stance. But my question is, what is a lesson? You know, sometimes we figure if we give people information, then that's a lesson, and they can extrapolate what we think they should extrapolate from it. But I think not necessarily so. It could just be information that's not activated within the person who is receiving it. So my question is, what is a lesson?

And then once that's defined, then how do we ensure — or we can't really ensure anything — but how do we come closer to having it become a part of the person so that they act it out and not just understand it intellectually?

Patty: I think we're all in agreement about a lot of the lessons learned. One thing that always frustrates me is how are we ever going to get young people to listen to us? I mean, how can we pass this information on? And I spend a lot of time trying to talk to young people, to give them my experience and to guide them. I try to do it in a low-key way, but it's a real problem, and I wonder what you all think about any ideas on how to do it, besides putting our archives in.

John: And on the ground in Mississippi and in the streets, I think that the young people are waiting for a group like SNCC. Gangs are out there. A lot of them see which way that's taken. But I noticed in Ferguson [MO], I noticed in Florida, and I've noticed now in Mississippi, if you get around to talking to young people and get them to see just what needs to be done — I'm not talking about those that are strung out on drugs; I'm talking about your young college students too, and so few that are just straight-up students out there in the world that are waiting to put their energy towards something. In the election of Obama, they came out — for something. SNCC came out, and you could hear the word "SNCC" and see the buttons everywhere. So I think organizing is our key now, but it needs leadership from the vets.

Ellen: I'm actually going to put on the table something that's a little bit almost contradictory to what both of you have said, because I've been studying Stokely Carmichael's work in developing this documentary and the work of the parents, our generation to his generation, in those years. And the lesson that comes back all the time — it started with Ella Baker, I think, it is who said, "You've got to listen to these kids. They have something to say." And I think that as I've been listening, my best source is KPFA here in the Bay Area, I listen to the young people who are especially involved with Black Lives Matter, environmental movements, their voices are very strong and very articulate, and their knowledge base is rich.

Now, those young leaders who I'm hearing on the radio may not represent the kids that are in your neighborhood or around your Thanksgiving table or you're watching in school scruffed down the street, but I think for me, our challenge as that older generation is to use Ella Baker as our model, as our role model and ask ourselves, "How can we nurture those voices? Encourage them to be ever clearer for us to hear better? And how can we nurture them and give them front row?"

And Emily Alma's in {UNCLEAR}, the Black Lives Matter March at Thanksgiving was all by young people, and it was just awe inspiring to be present, to see all of us just listening to the young Martin Luther Kings in front of us.

Marion: I'm glad that we've brought up the thing about the future, what are we going to do? Because, you know, we're legacy, and pretty soon we're going to be a gone legacy. And it's true about young people. And I'm also very impressed with — there is a book, I don't know if you've heard about it, it's called Love to Hate. It's by an educator named Jody Roy. She wrote this book in 2002, and it's part of the curriculum at one of the community colleges, Diablo Valley College. I just wrote this quote; it says, "America has this ongoing obsession with hatred, and hatred leads to violence." And the history of the United States has been just that. And Americans tend to tolerate hatred, and it's been a legacy since the beginning with the Pilgrims who landed on our shores.

And also I was thinking of how the media has changed. Back in the "60s and the "70s, we used a media to our advantage, and that was really smart. We got Congressmen and Senators' kids to be out there and made sure that the media is focused on these kids. And so we had strategies. Now, I think everything is sensationalized. There are a lot of programs that have everything to do with arguing within families, you know, war and glamorizing the vets coming back and so forth and so on. And then I think we need to look at that, because that's how young people are bombarded, by that kind of media as well as Facebook and so forth. So it's checking in on that, just being aware that that's what's coming out at us 24/7. And how can we combat that? So my question is, I don't know.

Ken: Well, one of the things that I've noticed or that I've been thinking about for a number of years is that since about 1980, there's been a counter revolution in the country. And we grew up as a privileged generation, most of us. When I was in college — I'd tell the students I used to teach, two and a half weeks of my high school paper route would pay for my semester in tuition in college. That gave us a lot of free time.

And the kids today, they're burdened with a $10,000 debt or a $20,000 debt by the time they graduate. They're scuffling just to stay alive while they're in college. And if they're not college-bound, they're working for $7.50 an hour at McDonald's or something like that. So just the economic situation now is keeping a lot of the troops away from the struggle. And I've thought since Reagan was elected that this was at least part of the design as well as the greed that they're doing.

Bruce: So I wanted to respond to what Ken said. I think every generation has its own unique challenges, and you identified the economic challenge that this young generation has that we didn't. But we had the legacy of McCarthyism and the legacy of the anti-Communist witch-hunts. We came up and started at a time when to protest or to question was "treason" and that even the thought of holding up a sign was considered "Communist subversion." That was our challenge.

I think that one of the things we forget is that social movements, ours and everyone else's, are initiated and carried through by very small groups of people. The overwhelming majority of people in the Civil Rights Era, Black and white, did not participate. Did not participate. They may have supported it, but they didn't participate. I think the difference between where we were at and what's happening now is not that now the numbers of activists are small, and back then the numbers were large. I think the numbers are the same. I think though, that back then our small number was more effective in the ways in which we went about things than the small numbers of activists today are. And that's why I chose the lessons that I chose, was to talk about what was effective then that is not being done now and why the groups now, I feel, are not effective.

Miriam: One of the things that I miss from the Movement is when we would come together, and in Mississippi, Bob Moses was the leader, and he would speak to us. Each speech would be unique to what had gone on between the last speech and this one. And Bob had a way. You know, he was very quiet, but we all respected him because one of the things he did is he cut right through our myths. So, an example from a few years later is he told us that no matter what we did to protest the Vietnam War, the government wasn't going to get out, because that meant leaving it to the Communists, and they weren't going to do that.

So not that we liked to hear the truth, but he spoke the truth to us. And I miss both the updating and the truth talking. I found out later that the speakers I went to hear would say the same speech in Cleveland as they would say two weeks later in San Francisco. And I think that was a lesson about something that worked that got lost.

Daphne: For one thing, we function in intergenerational silos. I mean, we function in silos. And during the Movement, people functioned intergenerationally. So, you dug yams on the farms of people. There were connections that were made with generations ahead of us. We are in our AARP [American Association of Retired People], whatever our retirement silos are, and we don't function as fluidly across the generations as we once did.

Very quick example of something that happened just last week. I was on a panel at Mills. There was a Latina on the panel who sang the praises of SNCC beyond any hallelujah I've ever heard. It was amazing. She said SNCC got her up out of the gangs, and it was all because of Betita [Martinez] and Betita's work in SNCC and how she applies the work of SNCC in the work that she's doing in the Mission [district of San Francisco] now.

And that's only one very small example, but collecting up, how do you gather those kinds of examples and put it into something that more resembles a kind of movement. But I think that we have a responsibility to act across the generations and get out of these silos that we're in related to age and other factors that we need to look at and how to have more conversations and present more examples to younger people, of how things can be transformed.

Louis: You know, we lived in intergenerational families. I lived with my grandparents and my parents, and there were always six or more people in the household. And that was the rule, especially in Black families, and it was because of our — and we didn't consider ourselves poor, but we had to economize on everything. Nothing was wasted. And my grandmother had a garden, and I learned that. You know, we passed it on down. So there was a togetherness.

Plus, another thing too, the Movements were focused. You know, that was the thing about the Movement. We had fear, the anti-Communists. I remember this in high school, had to do an essay, "Should the Communist Party be outlawed?" You know, 10th grade essay we had to write. That was the question. "Should the Communist Party be outlawed?" And this was when the government took your passport and DuBois and others couldn't travel. But we had that tremendous fear. You couldn't mention the word "socialism" or "communism."

[During the McCarthy "Red Scare" era of the 1950s, the passports of W.E.B. DuBois and other leftist Black leaders and thinkers such as Paul Robeson were seized so that they could not travel outside the country to speak against U.S. domestic and foreign policies that they opposed.]

But living in West Virginia when I was a kid, before coming to New York, we knew who was responsible for the organization of the mine worker's union. You know, the people — we knew they were Communists, but they were our next door neighbors. They were the ones who mined coal with my granddad and my father, so it wasn't a bogeyman to us. We knew that through struggle — you know, we had pitch battles, we had the Pinkertons and the private armies fighting the miners. So we knew from experience who were our friends and who our allies were. So basically, that fear we had to overcome. And plus, that focus, I think, made this for our success. We have to organize that focus and get over our current fear today to make further progress.

John: We've come to the point of where we're bringing buses of young people. We start off on Friday at the Coliseum and march by all of the powerful offices all the way up onto the Capitol in Mississippi. And we have the children sing Freedom songs, and they lift the signs of the march up. At the same time, you know, we're teaching them how to have that nonviolent spirit, to come and face the power structure for a reason of there not being enough justice in all of those people's murders. It's to get the — and they come back. And last year, we had more buses than we've ever had. And each year, it's beginning to grow and grow, and some of them are coming back. And we're asking them to come back and let us know what you did in your community to change it. And I think we need to take them up on some very knowledgeable people who have fought a war and won. And if we can get those young people under our wings and teach them our strategy, then they will be successful.

Arlene: OK, one point is about the power structure, and it was mentioned in several ways how we need to look at what the principles are of these organizations, for example the police department, police organizations. Look at what their words are, what they say they're going to do, and if it's not what is amenable to a more inclusive community, then it needs to change.

But in addition to what's written, there's also what's unwritten, and I think so often we don't think about that or we don't recognize it, because there is what is policy, and then there's what's done behind closed doors. And the unwritten camaraderie between people in organizations like this that don't come out, so we need to look at that.

Another thing regarding intergenerational, I'm really a big supporter of intergenerational workings in all areas. I think sometimes we might look for the youth of today to operate in the same way as the Civil Rights Movement operated in the '60s.

Daphne: It ain't going to happen.

Arlene: But — it's yes. And there are some young people from what I have been hearing who don't want that. They don't want to be associated with the old model. They're saying it was good then. It worked then. But we're a new group of people, just like they have a new language that I don't think all of us here might know. They have their own language; they have their own dress, that we might not dress the same way. And this is indicative of young people. They want things to separate themselves from the previous generation, even though there could be some intergenerational behavior.

And then the last thing is that for people who are of mature age and who have been through segregation in the past, our research now is beginning to show that there is such a thing as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder that's happening, and people don't even realize it. Many people don't even know what it is in order to realize it. But I think that that needs to be investigated a little further so that we can address it, because it is, to the extent that it does exist, it is a legitimate health dilemma and health problem. And people, especially people of color who have been discriminate to this extent, have gone through lots of years of that, and not only from what they lived but from what their other generations ahead of them are living. And I think that needs to be looked at and given some credence. And then things need to be done to counteract that.

Ellen: I'll throw in a few cents. One thing that comes to mind is sort of a "pass it on" thing. Everybody in this room pass it on to each one, every time we get in a room. Just remind our peers just what Daphne and you all said in a different way, but Daphne just most recently pointed out that we are one with our children. What better partners do we have than our children? And our children's children? And our friends' children?

And we're the only ones who can say to our peers, "It's not worse today. It's way better today." You know, many young people have enormous problems, and maybe my Ph.D. kid who is so sterling will not get a job in the next six months and might have to wait a year or two. But that's not worse than it was in 1960 or 1945. And I think that's something that we really have an obligation to do ourselves is to teach our own peers that life is not worse, not scarier for us today.

It might be scarier because we're not paying attention to our health, and so we have some responsibility there too, but that's not somebody else's problem to solve. That's our problem. So I feel like we have to do some more homework with all of our peers at every single gathering that we get together. And if we imagine what a noise we could create. [Laughter]

Marion: In the back of my head I'm always thinking about ways that we can have future workshops and including young people or involving them in some ways. And it would be interesting to talk about, or have people, let's say just this one discussion, throw in what nonviolence means.

And don't put Martin Luther King down. Don't put Buddhism down. Don't put other stuff. Just no labels. But what is nonviolence? What is violence? Who can get to you faster? Violence or nonviolence? I mean, it's just one tactic. And there can be other things. Other things I'm thinking about is are same group identity meetings, in a subgroup, to talk about our own backgrounds that are similar and then come together and talk about how we are connected and not connected, and that's OK. Either way is OK, because that's reality.

And to be able to accept what's been going on, because sometimes we hold on to a lot of secrets that we're afraid to talk about, otherwise we'll be labeled "racist." And this is some really generic stuff that we need to just take off the rug and start sweeping under the rug so that it's cleaned up. And so that we can begin to take the next step. But it's just some ideas.

John: We have a young man named Randall Jennings who has challenged the school system in Lauderdale County in Mississippi, and he used the Brown vs Board of Education as a directory as to how integration went and how it should've went. He called in the Justice Department, and we all went down, and they found that there's an intentional system set up in Mississippi to send children from the school house straight to the jail house. And there are other things in Brown that were never, and have never been put on the table. So if we haven't looked into where we need to go — we gained our rights to vote, and we got [desegregated] accommodations, but we haven't moved past that. It's still sitting there. And we have to either go further because we can't go — we don't need to go back. And it's beginning to look like '60s Mississippi is fitting to take shape again.


Daphne: But I have a question. Nonviolence is being redefined, and the government is redefining it because look at this case of this young woman in Sacramento who is being accused of "lynching." A young Black activist is now being accused of lynching based on some archaic law on the books in Sacramento where she attempted to extract another activist from a police car. So they are using — I mean, the state is mining all these archaic laws and creating new ones to redefine nonviolence.

Louis: Restrict, I think, is what you actually mean. They're taking that law to suppress any public protest.

Daphne: Right, right, right.

Louis: And they're using that every which way. I think they did that in many ways, perhaps not as blatantly in California. But during the '60s and '70s, I was involved in organizing the Black Panther movement in Oakland after I was working in Mississippi. I'm working on a manuscript that will detail — there was a split. You know, there was the Northern California which was the first embodiment, and then the Huey and Bobby in the Oakland branch, and that became the one that everybody knows about. But basically they actually, at that time in California, you can open carry a weapon in the streets as long as it wasn't loaded and have anything in the chamber. Of course, they restricted that. Now the NRA is going about trying to systematically dismantle all the gun control laws in the country.

But I think the power structure, when they feel threatened, and right now, in a sense, any public demonstration is a threat. I mean, the whole thing of this vague, but very wide birth of terrorism. You know, anything can be construed now under the suspension of the Constitution, and make no bones about it, the U.S. Constitution, especially the specific amendments, the Fourth Amendment and the First Amendment, the Fifth Amendment and perhaps the Sixth Amendment is in a state of suspension depending on the jurisdiction that you are in.

They can use that against you now, and basically any kind of public protest in any element, any I say jurisdiction of the power structure, you can be open to challenge, you know? And arrested. And how they came down on the Occupy Movement, coordinated across the country, that had to come from the top, the national government. That's something we have to think about, because the powers that be now are much more threatened. They feel that the system is about to decompose in some respect, and a mass protest might push it over the edge. They are very much concerned about that. Thank you.

Bruce: Yeah, I want to come back to what you said, Daphne, about redefining nonviolence. And I would agree with that, but the way I see that it's being done is that nonviolence is being redefined as the high philosophical pacifism of a saint like Dr. King. In such a way that nobody could ever really think of themselves using nonviolence, because they know they're not Dr. Martin Luther King. And they're kind of exalting it up to a point where it's no longer a tool that ordinary people can use to resist.

It's like the Virgin Mary, or something that nobody could ever think of that they're doing it. That, to me, is the way they're redefining nonviolence, because they encourage violence. They love to see — despite what they say, they're very happy when the discontented use violence — 

Daphne Oh, yes!

Bruce — because they know how to suppress that. It's nonviolent resistance that they see as potentially dangerous. Because, in my opinion as a historian, all of the reforms and changes in our society in the last 150 years have been essentially through forms of nonviolent resistance. Whether it was overtly characterized as nonviolence or not, it was nonviolence. And that's what they want to take as a tool and take it away from people and put it up there in sainthood land. So that's how I see redefining nonviolence.

Daphne Um-hmmm! Um-hmmm!

Miriam: One of the things I think people are not aware of is that we were trained about was agent provocateurs. I see it all the time when I read a newspaper article about something — somebody got sucked in. But we were aware that the government planted people to try to get us to do something that was violent. Somebody that we thought was our coworker. And we watched out for that. And I think that the younger generation doesn't know about that.

John: That's correct.

Ellen: Charlie Cobb has a new book out called This Nonviolent Stuff'll Get You Killed: How Guns Made the Civil Rights Movement Possible. And I have to tell you that it is quite a read. He completely, brilliantly provides an intellectual context for balancing the lives that we've led these past 55 years and our experiences and ways of thinking about it. I highly commend the book to you.

And again, I think that I guess I feel like a bit of a drone, beating drum, that we have to really walk away from the either/or, because my read of all the histories of great revolutions is that nonviolence might have gotten it started, but I fear that my read says that it wasn't until there was a lot of killing that the nonviolence began to work. The current Black Lives Matter being an example, that we're seeing some phenomenal awareness of just terrific police work being done all over the country, community policing. And it's taken tragic deaths to start to see that. And this just happens to be today's example. So my drum still says that it's never — we have to be careful of the simplicity and that my read is that the duality. Great book.

Louis: Good point. People tend to see violence and nonviolence as, I guess, direct opposites, when actually they are dialectic. You know, most social movements do start as nonviolent peaceful protests, asking for very, very minor, "Let's segregate in a democratic way" type of Montgomery Bus Boycott type of thing. And it grows. And as the people's consciousness grows or the threat to the power, whomever, feels threatened, and they are usually the first to come down with violence.

And I remember reading — I don't know if you know this name of Cabral, Amilcar Cabral, he's one of the theoreticians of the African Liberation Movement of the '60s — 

Daphne Oh, yes!

Louis: — I think he made a point somewhere where it's usually the oppressor that takes to the means of killing, mass killing, in the case of the French and the Portuguese. Tens of thousands of people were massacred, but you didn't hear it in the Western press. But those are transformative, because if you're leading a movement to change society, and every protest — for instance, the role of the police — "To Protect and Serve"

[Many American police departments avow, "To Protect and Serve" as their motto. They place that slogan on their cars and buildings.]

Louis: I always say, "Whom are they protecting and serving?" And if you ask that question and explore — it's property, it's the rich. That's what police — you know, one of the reasons police forces were created in this country. But nevertheless, that has a way of transforming people's consciousness, where if they persevere in their quest to eliminate the heel of oppression off of their necks, they're going to have to challenge the power structure, and they will have to inevitably arm themselves, not only with the political means but the material means to win.

You know, to paraphrase Gandhi, first they laugh at you, then they fight you, and then you win. But basically, we're talking about the strategies and tactics of a movement, and a social movement in the United States has yet to really, fully mature. It will mature. As I've told people — as I've mentioned to my students, I said, "You know, all major advances in the United States only come with tremendous, tremendous struggle, and in many cases with blood being shed.'

Beloved Community

Miriam: Miriam. What I noticed is that our Movement has been glamorized. That people think Montgomery Boycott — everybody in the Black community boycotted. But the truth was that if you rode the bus, you got a visit from your neighbors putting pressure on you. And people think that we were the beautiful community and that we got along, and I'm here to say we didn't all get along. And I think that's — 

Bruce: But we were all beautiful. [Laughter]

Louis: That's true! That's true!

Miriam: I would like for the next generations to know that we were not a beautiful community in that sense.

Ken: Wasn't it "beloved community?"

Miriam: Beloved community. Beloved. Thank you for the correction.

Louis: We were beautiful, but we weren't necessarily always beloved.

Miriam: But on the website we've talked about a lot of the antagonisms based on sex, gender, all that stuff.

I think we've been terrific. I have totally enjoyed this, and we have it recorded for posterity. I hope you've enjoyed this as much as I have.


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