Sncc Civil Rights Quotes

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As noted in 1964 by Robert P. “Bob” Moses, director of the Mississippi project of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC): “It’s not contradictory for a farmer to say he’s nonviolent and also pledge to shoot a marauder’s head off.
Charles E. Cobb (This Nonviolent Stuff'll Get You Killed: How Guns Made the Civil Rights Movement Possible)
Black civil rights activists in the South were among the first to resist the draft. SNCC’s Bob Moses joined historian Staughton Lynd and veteran pacifist Dave Dellinger to march in Washington against the war, and Life Magazine had a dramatic photo of the three of them walking abreast, being splattered with red paint by angry super-patriots.
Howard Zinn (You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train: A Personal History of Our Times)
When one person got involved, it took everybody else along. I went to jail first, but my entire family soon joined the Movement. One time, Faith & I ended up at home w all the babies from 2 households, because the mamas & the other older sisters were in jail. In the morning we had to plait everybody's hair & feed them--it was a mess! We had all the babies except Peaches Gaines, who was in jail with her mother & my mother. Peaches was jailed because she had not obeyed an officer. She was about 2. Her bond was set at, I believe, $125.00. --Joann Christian Mants
Faith S. Holsaert (Hands on the Freedom Plow: Personal Accounts by Women in SNCC)
It is, in short, the growing conviction that the Negroes cannot win—a conviction with much grounding in experience—which accounts for the new popularity of black power. So far as the ghetto Negro is concerned, this conviction expresses itself in hostility, first toward the people closest to him who have held out the most promise and failed to deliver (Martin Luther King, Roy Wilkins, etc.), then toward those who have proclaimed themselves his friends (the liberals and the labor movement), and finally toward the only oppressors he can see (the local storekeeper and the policeman on the corner). On the leadership level, the conviction that the Negroes cannot win takes other forms, principally the adoption of what I have called a "no-win" policy. Why bother with programs when their enactment results only in sham? Why concern ourselves with the image of the movement when nothing significant has been gained for all the sacrifices made by SNCC and CORE? Why compromise with reluctant white allies when nothing of consequence can be achieved anyway? Why indeed have anything to do with whites at all? On this last point, it is extremely important for white liberals to understand what, one gathers from their references to "racism in reverse," the President and the Vice-President of the United States do not: that there is all the difference in the world between saying, "If you don't want me, I don't want you" (which is what some proponents of black power have in effect been saying), and the statement, "Whatever you do, I don't want you" (which is what racism declares). It is, in other words, both absurd and immoral to equate the despairing response of the victim with the contemptuous assertion of the oppressor. It would, moreover, be tragic if white liberals allowed verbal hostility on the part of Negroes to drive them out of the movement or to curtail their support for civil rights. The issue was injustice before black power became popular, and the issue is still injustice.
Bayard Rustin (Down The Line)
The SNCC base of operation, at the corner of Jackson and High Streets, was in the heart of the black community in Montgomery. I don't remember too much else about the city, but I'll always remember that corner. There were hundreds of young people behind police barricades of some sort. Lots of college students, some white, from up North, and some local black folks and college students. The whole Selma-to-Montgomery push, and this ancillary thrust by SNCC in Montgomery, was because on the other side of that barricade there were white folks who had shown they would stop at nothing, including violence, to protect white supremacy.
Junius Williams (Unfinished Agenda: Urban Politics in the Era of Black Power)
We were still confined to that corner. More and more people joined us, some black and some white. On the second day, we awoke to learn that somebody must have told Martin Luther King that things were getting out of hand in Montgomery, because rumor had it that he left the line of march from Selma to join us in the hood. Despite myself, I was thrilled at the prospect of marching with King. I knew this was SNCC turf, and I was now with SNCC, but how can you not be thrilled with the prospect of being so close to the big man himself?
Junius Williams (Unfinished Agenda: Urban Politics in the Era of Black Power)
Knocking on doors wasn't working. We had to try something else. Remember the kids whose natural curiosity brought them into our little office on the corner? We set up a Freedom School that was fashioned after the SNCC Freedom Schools in Mississippi and other places.
Junius Williams (Unfinished Agenda: Urban Politics in the Era of Black Power)
By the time the New Left and the Civil Rights Movement came on the scene, Zinn had left the party’s ranks, but he was toying with the Maoist Progressive Labor Party and the Trotskyist Socialist Workers party and “gave his support to young black militants” of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Black Panthers.29 Actually, Zinn radicalized the students, turned them into militants, and helped found and guide the radical SNCC.
Mary Grabar (Debunking Howard Zinn: Exposing the Fake History That Turned a Generation against America)
In the year of your lord 1963, August 27, I was in a hotel room with John Lewis and three other members of SNCC and I was livid. I had provided several lines to John’s speech and they were being removed. I remember the lines. The first was, If the dogs of the South continue unchained, then we will bite back, we will move on those tender parts that bleed so readily, that bleed so profusely. Okay, I said, understanding that there was a lot of blood in the statement—rather, threat—and so I added the word nonviolently. This was not satisfactory. The next line was, The Kennedy administration does not even talk a good game, failing to support voters’ rights while paying mere lip service to civil rights, as if there is a difference. We say fuck the administration that still walks hand in hand with Jim Crow. Well, I could see that the word fuck was a bit strong and so I suggested screw and then 45 screw nonviolently. I was never much of a player in the politics of the day after that evening.
Percival Everett (Percival Everett by Virgil Russell)
Carmichael also criticized the student peace movement and argued that if peace activists wanted to be relevant to most people, they needed to start organizing to resist the draft: The peace movement has been a failure because it hasn’t gotten off the college campuses where everybody has a 2S [draft deferment] and is not afraid of being drafted anyway. The problem is how you can move out of that into the white ghettos of this country and articulate a position for those white youth who do not want to go. . . . [SNCC is] the most militant organization for peace or civil rights or human rights against the war in Vietnam in this country today. There isn’t one organization that has begun to meet our stand on the war in Vietnam. We not only say we are against the war in Vietnam; we are against the draft. . . . There is a higher law than the law of a racist named [Secretary of Defense] McNamara; there is a higher law than the law of a fool named [Secretary of State] Rusk; there is a higher law than the law of a buffoon named Johnson. It’s the law of each of us. We will not allow them to make us hired killers. We will not kill anybody that they say kill. And if we decide to kill, we are going to decide who to kill.89
Joshua Bloom (Black against Empire: The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party (The George Gund Foundation Imprint in African American Studies))
So let us be bold in our efforts and even bolder in our vision. Let us tell the story of an America becoming - of a nation breaking free from the limits of its own arrested development and transforming into the place we were told about in school but which never really existed as such. Just because that place has been a cruel and taunting mirage for so long does not mean we cannot mold it into a reality. As the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) - one of the premier civil rights groups of our nation's history - used to say, Come, let us build a new world together.
Tim Wise
Meanwhile, angered by white violence in the South and inspired by the gigantic June 23 march in Detroit, grassroots people on the streets all over the country had begun talking about marching on Washington. “It scared the white power structure in Washington, D.C. to death,” as Malcolm put it in his “Message to the Grassroots” and in his Autobiography.6 So the White House called in the Big Six national Negro leaders and arranged for them to be given the money to control the march. The result was what Malcolm called the “Farce on Washington” on August 28, 1963. John Lewis, then chairman of SNCC and fresh from the battlefields of Georgia, Mississippi, and Alabama where hundreds of blacks and their white student allies were being beaten and murdered simply for trying to register blacks to vote, was forced to delete references to the revolution and power from his speech and, specifically, to take out the sentence, “We will not wait for the President, the Justice Department nor Congress, but we will take matters into our own hands and create a source of power, outside of any national structure, that could and would assure us a victory.” Marchers were instructed to carry only official signs and to sing only one song, “We Shall Overcome.” As a result, many rank-and-file SNCC militants refused to participate.7 Meanwhile, conscious of the tensions that were developing around preparations for the march on Washington and in order to provide a national rallying point for the independent black movement, Conrad Lynn and William Worthy, veterans in the struggle and old friends of ours, issued a call on the day of the march for an all-black Freedom Now Party. Lynn, a militant civil rights and civil liberties lawyer, had participated in the first Freedom Ride from Richmond, Virginia, to Memphis, Tennessee, in 1947 and was one of Robert Williams’s attorneys.8 Worthy, a Baltimore Afro-American reporter and a 1936–37 Nieman Fellow, had distinguished himself by his courageous actions in defense of freedom of the press, including spending forty-one days in the Peoples Republic of China in 1957 in defiance of the U.S. travel ban (for which his passport was lifted) and traveling to Cuba without a passport following the Bay of Pigs invasion in order to help produce a documentary. The prospect of a black independent party terrified the Democratic Party. Following the call for the Freedom Now Party, Kennedy twice told the press that a political division between whites and blacks would be “fatal.
Grace Lee Boggs (Living for Change: An Autobiography)