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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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Wazir Peacock on long heated mtgs and the personal benefits of activism.

Wazir spoke to four students and 3 adults this afternoon at Gateway High School.  We had watched excerpts from Boycott in the morning.  In the afternoon, one of the students asked Wazir if the heated arguments among the planners of the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955 portrayed in the docu-drama were exaggerated?  Wazir assured her that they were understated if anything and explained that one reason why they were so heated was that they all had to be sure about what they were doing since they were often putting their lives on the line.  The students were surprised at how much the ministers and leaders of NAACP and WPC argued amongst themselves in the midst of the boycott.  Wazir also pointed out that such an event had never happened before in Montgomery and that they were having to find consensus for the first time and were fighting against their own fears of the repercussions of their actions (some had more to lose than others).   Also, there was some ego involved that they all had to learn how to process -- Ella Baker helped the young SNCC activists figure out how to do that, said Wazir.

When asked what he gained from being an activist, Wazir explained that he learned to eradicate selfishness, learned to love deeply and be loved and respected in turn.  He gained a community that has been there for him ever since.  He learned that we are all connected, whatever happens to one person affects every other person.

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