50-Year Retrospective Discussions

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The year 2014 marked the 50th anniversary of Mississippi Freedom Summer, one of the key events of the Southern Freedom Movement. Fifty years earlier, the Civil Rights Movement altered forever the Jim Crow face of America. Led by young people, it was a mass popular uprising that gave birth to a range of social and political movements that still shape and affect our politics to this day. 50 years later, those of us whose boots were on the ground in the 1960s gathered in a series of small-group discussions to look back with the perspective of decades and frankly assess with each other how we now understood what we did & experienced, and how we assessed what we accomplished, where we failed, what it means for today, and how our lives were shaped by that struggle.

The discussions were loosely organized around the following questions:

Evaluation of the Freedom Movement
What was achieved?
What did we fail to achieve?
What lessons did we learn?
What did it all mean?
How did our participation affect us?
Why did we participate?
What did it mean for us?
How did it change us?

All discussion participants were veterans of the Southern Freedom Movement, men and women whose boots were on the ground from all the southern states, and all the organizations during the years 1951-1968. The audio-recordings were transcribed, edited for continuity and clarity, and then reviewed by the participants for accuracy.

Discussion Transcripts
April 5, 2014, Oakland, CA

Group A:

Cathy Cade (SNCC), Edith Black (volunteer), Sydney Gurewitz Clemens (SCLC), Joseph Cooney (SCLC), Fred Goff (volunteer), Lonnie King Jr (SNCC), Dennis Roberts (SNCC), Fatima Cortez Todd (CORE).

Group B:

Chude Allen (Volunteer), Lynn Adler (SCLC), Elaine DeLott Baker (Volunteer), Stephen Blum (Volunteer), Jimmy Collier (SCLC), David Gelfand (SNCC), Charles Love (SCLC), Marcia Moore (SNCC).

Group C:

Don Jelinek (SNCC, LCDC), Steve Bingham (SNCC), Margaret Burnham (SNCC), Mary Ellen Crason Johnson (SNCC), Bettie Mae Fikes (SNCC, Freedom Singer), Charles McDew (SNCC), Rev. Clarence Johnson (NAACP), Nancy Elaine Stoller (NAG, SNCC), Karen Haberman Trusty (SNCC), Eleanor Walden (SNCC, SCLC, SSOC)

Group D:

Miriam Glickman (SNCC), Tom Canterbury (SNCC, WFP), Charles Hammond (SCOPE volunteer), Janet Heinritz-Canterbury (SNCC, WFP), Sherie Labedis (SCLC/SCOPE volunteer), Carol Ruth Silver (CORE, Freedom Rider), Gene Turitz (SNCC)

Group E:

Ron Bridgeforth (SNCC), Bettie Mae Fikes (SNCC), Bruce Hartford (CORE, SCLC), Ruth Koenig (Freedom Summer volunteer), Marion Kwan (Delta Ministry), Mike Miller (SNCC), Susan Ryerson Moon (Freedom Summer volunteer), Karen Wolf (Tennessee volunteer)

Group F:

Wazir Peacock (SNCC), Linda Wetmore Halpern (SNCC), Phil Hutchings (SNCC), Fran O'Brien (Freedom Summer Volunteer), Mary Lovelace O'Neal, (SNCC, CORE), Peggy Ryan Poole (SCOPE Volunteer), Annie Popkin (Freedom Summer Volunteer), Betty Garman Robinson (SNCC), Jimmy Rogers (SNCC), Nancy Scheper-Hughes (SRRP), Bright Winn (CORE, SNCC)

Group G:

Maria Gitin (SCOPE, SCLC, SNCC), Bettie Mae Fikes (SNCC, Freedom Singers), Hardy Frye (SNCC), Benjamin "Buzz" Graham (SNCC), Matt Herron (SNCC, CORE), Stephen Rose (SCLC, SNCC), Joseph (Buddy) Tieger (CORE, SNCC), Eleanor Walden (SCLC, SNCC, SSOC)

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