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Showing posts from March 28, 2013

Another Civil Rights Movement Reflection

From time to time I am asked for reflections on my days in the civil rights movement in the South. Here is a verbatim reply sent to a student in UK today.

My own experience suggests less of a binary division of the movement. Young people like John Lewis and Diane Nash with whom I, then 25, had the honor of working in 1961 were on the same page with older leaders like like Kelly Miller Smith and MLK. The intensity of events radicalized everyone and the only major difference seems to me to have been the decision regarding nonviolence or not.
Age had ramifications in terms of abilities and freedom of movement but it would be too simple to say that cutting edge was young and not-so-much was older. There was much more clearly a division between older people in the movement and their contemporaries. For example, in Nashville and elsewhere, churches of all sorts and racial makeups were largely passive and inactive. 
My commitment to nonviolence was as much informed by Falstaff as ML…