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I've Got the Light of Freedom: The Organizing Tradition and the Mississippi Freedom Struggle

I've Got the Light of Freedom: The Organizing Tradition and the Mississippi Freedom Struggle
Author: Charles M. Payne
ISBN 13: 9780520251762
ISBN 10: 520251768
Edition: 2nd
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication Date: 2007-03-16
Format: Paperback
Pages: 552
List Price: $34.95

"With this history of the civil rights movement focusing on Everyman-turned-hero, the commoner as crusader for justice, Payne challenges the old idea that history is the biography of great men."—Kirkus Reviews

"Remarkably astute in its judgments and strikingly sophisticated in its analyses . . . it is one of the most significant studies of the Black freedom struggle yet published."—David J. Garrow, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Bearing the Cross

"This extremely important book clearly reveals the logic of how ordinary people propelled the civil rights movement. . . . [It] provides a basis for optimism as we approach the next century."—Aldon Morris, author of The Origins of the Civil Rights Movement

Publishers Weekly

Not a comprehensive history of the civil rights movement in Mississippi, this thoughtful study instead analyzes the legacy of community organizing there. Payne, who teaches African American studies, sociology and urban affairs at Northwestern University, notes that the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), though grounded in youthful energy, gained much from the ``congealed experience'' of older leaders, such as Ella Baker and Septima Clark. Concentrating on the delta city of Greenwood, he offers useful profiles of local activists, showing that many came from families with traditions of social involvement or defiance. He also explores the disproportionate number of female volunteers, the older black generation's complex interactions with whites and the decline of organizing as the 1960s proceeded. And he notes that, despite an ideology of unity, black activists lost the capacity to work together. Photos not seen by PW. (Apr.)