From International Socialist Review, Vol.27 No.4, Fall 1966, p.161.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.
by Sally Belfrage
Fawcett World Library. 256 pp. $0.75 paper.
This is a vivid account of the Southern struggle as it was in the summer of 1964. Miss Belfrage, a fine and sensitive writer, outlines the fears and motivations which lay behind hers and others’ reasons for volunteering to go to Mississippi to participate in a Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee summer project.
She tells of the “movement’s” encounters with the federal government and of the total lack of response from the Justice Department. These experiences shed light on SNCC’s subsequent evolution toward the concept of Black Power.
The debate between proponents of self-defense and philosophical pacifists continually pops up in the book. In the beginning, it occurs in a rather abstract way, in a workshop on non-violence which the author dismisses, saying that “the meeting ended early so that a more relevant lesson could be conducted.” Later on, in Greenwood, Miss., where white people were on a shooting rampage, an explosive situation creates a timely debate on the subject between several SNCC leaders, including Staughton Lynd.
Another figure referred to often is Stokely Carmichael, the present SNCC chairman. Miss Belfrage describes his as a leader, and one who had some very definite ideas on self-defense. As he put it then,
“We’re not going to stick with this nonviolence forever. We didn’t go shooting up their houses. It’s not us who does that ...”
Last updated on 9 June 2009