KEY COMPONENTS OF SUCCESSFUL SOCIAL MOVEMENTS

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"For me, the most important lesson
[of the Freedom Movement] is that by respecting the fact that fellow activists could passionately disagree over strategy and tactics—yet remain allies—they strengthened SNCC and the Movement as a whole."
From Bruce Hartford's article in the current issue of Urban Habitat.
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Monday, July 12, 2010

The Need for Community

One of the arguments made by several Civil Rights veterans, and made by Wazir on Saturday and Freedom Song, is that movements are built on the foundations of community (in addition to other things like "infrastructure").

Freedom Song: In Quinlan (McComb), T-Bone (Amzie Moore, Aaron Henry) nurtured a community of young activists on his front porch/barbershop. When Daniel Wall (Bob Moses) arrived in town, T-Bone was able to introduce him to all the people he knew and get donations from them to support the work of Wall. When T-Bone stopped Owen from unilaterally desegregating the white-only bus station waiting room, he told Owen to come to church the next sunday (to meet Daniel Wall), "get a hair-cut" (i.e., start attending meetings of the NAACP youth chapter), and then paid for Owen's glass of milk. When Owen muttered that T Bone wasn't his father, the cafe owner/worker, when taking the payment for the milk, remarked to Owen, "we all's your family."

Wazir: "...the elements of a community were built before I was born: people having things in common, having to survive together, people seeing the need to help each other, people seeing the need to address together what is out of sync in the community. It is possible to build community, but it is hard work. it takes that same effort of knocking doors, of like minds get together, no expecting hordes at first, accepting each other's differences, and supporting each other. Start small, experimental. ...be sure create some kind of infrastructure so it can be built upon by those who come after you....[and anticipate people wanting to destroy it, like they did SNCC]"

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