I started going to Miss. in l962 on the invitation of Jess Brown, one of the then three African-American lawyers in the state. I was at the ACLU at the time. Jess and I did good work together in beginning to open up the jury system to black Missippians. He was a wonderful and inspiring man. He died a few years ago. I got to know some of the SNCC workers at the same time.
In 64, I was one of the organizers of the Lawyers Constitutional Defense Committee, composed of a half-dozen liberal organizations, to provide legal defense for civil rights workers. Lawyers, of course, were peripheral workers in Miss., I always believed, but we served a useful but not a central role. Those several years when I went down to Miss. pretty often, were central experiences in my life. I remember them vividly, and have friends who were there then with whom I go over those days from time to time. We were, and some of still are (including me), pretty left. We continue to try to me!
asure how far The USofA (as LBJ used to refer to it) has come in dealing with its deep racist history and reality. We've come a ways; we have a long way to go. We have at least as long a way to go in achieving economic justice, but that prospect keeps getting more and more remote. I continue to practise law in NY and like to think I've done a lot less harm than most lawyers do. I stick as close as I can to first amendment issues and do various civil rights cases though, I must admit, that ain't all I do. I also make a living.