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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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Freedom Rides

Here are some of the posts from our Chalk Talk following the showing of the Eyes on the Prize coverage of the Freedom Rides:


* It struck me how incredibly brave the Freedom Riders were
* How disciplined were the sit-in participants to stay with non-violence
* The highs and lows of being in prison for something people believed in
* The determination of MFDP--they did not compromise, "We didn't come all this way for two seats when we're all tired."

*The expansiveness of the freedom summer---how it encompassed so much from the trainings, to voting, the youth schooling, the MFDP

*What it may have done for racial injustice--solidarity work (youth organizing, organizing tactics, strategizing)

* It is "first amazing" to me "the enduring perseverance, with "the commitment" of "steadfast belief," in its reform to the Constitutin and the Bill of Rights "That" All Men are Created Equal under the law

*Important to realize that even with legislation and Supreme Court ruling, the legal system did and still does function in a way that allows for disregard of laws on the local level.

*Interesting demonstration of the "mob" mentality. During the exercise in which they practiced facing mobs, it was illustrated how it carried away and violent mobs can get.

*The necessity of direct action accompanied by broader community engagement and organizing.

*The need to realize there is a problem, organize around it, and energize the movement.

Just the variety of rationalization for blatant injustice/illegal discrimination

The use of "states rights' to justify injustice

Bobby Kennedy's compromise

The radicalization of Parchman--prison stay, in this case facing on incubation for justice action

*How do you make a film like this relevant to contemporary times---appealing to youth, new immigrants

*Wake them up, not enough people to tell them to wake up

*More than anything, I suppose this film reinforced existing convictions of mine.

Two things stuck out:
1.) The fact that state power had to be change instead of simply being ignored, while at the same time, creating Democratic spaces like the Freedom Schools to build community.

2.) The complicity of many Northern Democrats in upholding Jim Crow, preferring to simply go along to get along; thereby reinforcing MLK's conviction that moderates were greater enemies to the cause of freedom than the KKK as the former preferred a negative peace (absence of tension) to a positive peace (presence of justice).

Need to research have clear-er timeline of Supreme Court decisions and then the actual date of enforcement of laws

How to use history, ideas, work, strategies of these students to encourage kids today to participate in social and environmental justice

*The level of violence then--firebombed buses with people inside, churches etc.
*Compare to the property damage in Oakland at Oscar Grant marches: Burning dumpsters is called violence

*Also accusations of "outside agitators" in both cases--"communists" or "anarchists"

*Those who do not know their history are doomed to repeat it.

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