Civil Rights Movement Veterans

We who believe in freedom cannot rest — Ella Baker

Linked with the Bay Area Veterans of the Civil Rights Movement.

… Those who were tactically nonviolent used Nonviolent Resistance as a tool for building political power, – in demonstrations, as an organizing technique and style, and as a political strategy to achieve specific goals. But it was a tactic, not a philosophy of life; and in other situations, – both personal and political, – other strategies and tactics might be used. We who were tactically nonviolent used Nonviolent Resistance because we wanted to win. We saw nonviolence as the most effective way to accomplish our goals through political means. We did not love our enemies, nor did we believe that our redemptive suffering would win over racists and segregationists to a new world of inter-racial brotherly love. By 1963 the great majority of Freedom Movement activists in CORE, SNCC, NAACP, and even SCLC, were tactically nonviolent rather than philosophically nonviolent … (excerpt from Two Kinds of Nonviolent Resistance, by Bruce Hartford, 2004).

Table of Contents;
Photo Album – Images of a Peoples’ Movement;
Veterans Roll Call;
Nonviolent Resitance;
Our Thoughts;
Your Thoughts;
In Memory;
Movement Bibliography — Alphabetic List;
History and Timeline of the Southern Freedom Movement;
the blog: Spartacus Educational;
Annual Report, January 2008;
Information on Fair Use;

I.: The Civil Rights Movement Veterans Website (This website is of, by, and for Veterans of the Southern Freedom Movement of the 1960s): The mass media called it the “Civil Rights Movement,” but most of us who were involved in it prefer the term “Freedom Movement” because it was about so much more than just civil rights.

Today, from what you see in the mass media and read in textbooks and websites, you would think that the Freedom Movement only existed in a few states of the deep South, — but that is not so. The Freedom Movement lived and fought in every state and every city of America, North and South, East and West. There were some differences between the Southern and Northern wings of the Movement, but those differences were insignificant compared to the Movement’s essence. North or South, it was the same movement everywhere.

This website is devoted to the “Southern Freedom Movement,” the Freedom Movement as it existed in the South. Not because the Northern wing of the Movement was unimportant — it was enormously important, — but because the Southern Movement was the part of the Movement that we participated in and know enough about to build this website. Hopefully, some day soon activists from the Northern wing of the Movement will do the same.

For us, the heart and soul of our website is emphasizing the central role played by ordinary people transforming their lives through extraordinary courage. The Civil Rights Movement was above all a mass peoples’ movement — people coming together to change their lives for themselves. But all too often that central fact has been quietly dropped out of history in favor of a “benevolent” court ruling, a few charismatic leaders, a handful of famous protests in a few well-known places, some tragic martyrs, and the gracious largess of magnanimous legislators.

Our purpose is to make sure that there is at least one place where the Movement story is told by those who actually lived it. We want to set the record straight. Without the courage, determination, and activity of hundreds of thousands of men and women of all ages in cities, towns, and hamlets across the South (and the nation) there would have been no Civil Rights Movement, no famous leaders, no court rulings, no new laws, and no change.

In addition to documenting the Southern Freedom Movement by telling it like it was and testifying to what we did and what it meant to us, this website is also a place to begin renewing the ties that once bound us together in a beloved community, a place for finding lost friends, and a tool for helping fellow veterans in need. And it is a living memorial for our fallen comrades.

To meet this mission, we provide:

  • Veterans Roll Call. A section where we can post information about ourselves, — where and when and what we did in the Movement, where we’ve gone and what we’ve done and thought since, what we’ve achieved, milestones we’ve passed, and how old friends can reach us.
  • In Memory: A section where we can post our testimony and memories of brothers and sisters who have passed on. We may not have an Arlington Cemetery or an Eternal Flame in Washington, but we can build a remembrance of word and thought more meaningful than dead stone and mute grass.
  • The Movement and Timeline. Sections providing information about the Southern Freedom Movement as it was seen and understood by those who lived it.
  • Our Stories A section providing the full text of oral histories, statements, interviews, and narratives by Movement veterans.
  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). A where veterans can post their answers to the questions most often asked by students interested in the Civil Rights Movement.
  • Documents. A compilation of original source documents from the Southern Freedom Movement.
  • Discussions. Transcipts of discussions by Movement veterans on Movement-related topics.
  • Commentaries. A section where individual Movement veterans contribute their thoughts and analyses of the Movement and current events.
  • Poetry. A collection of poems about the Freedom Movement by civil rights workers and others.
  • Speakers List A list of Freedom Movement veterans available for speaking engagements. Schools, churches, youth groups, and other organizations who wish to hear first- hand from those who participated in the Civil Rights Movement can use this list to directly contact Freedom Movement veterans.
  • Your Thoughts. Where visitors can enter their comments about the Southern Freedom Movement and this site.
  • Web Links. A section that provides links to web-based resources about the Civil Rights Movement.
  • Bibliography An extesive list of books, music, and videos about and from the Southern Freedom Movement.

… (full text about).

II.: The Bay Area Veterans of the Civil Rights Movement is already presented on this blog on Nov. 7, 2008.


See also: SNCC on wikipedia: The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (or SNCC, pronounced “snick”) was one of the principal organizations of the American Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. It emerged in April of 1960 from student meetings led by Ella Baker held at Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina. This group turned into a large organization and had many supporters who helped with their one-million dollar annual budget, allowing full time workers to have a salary, and also enlisting unpaid interns … (full long text).

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