Supplemental Readings for San Francisco Freedom School 2010

Building the Foundations of a Movement

( Willie B. Wazir Peacock.........................................2 MOUNG BAYOU...................................................4 BLACK CHURCHES............................................5 YOUNG WOMEN’S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION......................................................6 HIGHLANDER FOLK SCHOOL........................6 HISTORICALLY BLACK COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES.....................................................7 Black Leaders..........................................................8


Willie B. Wazir Peacock
SNCC 1960-66 Interview on website I was born in the small town of Charleston, in Tallahatchie County, Mississippi-the same county where Emmett Till was lynched in 1955. While going to school there, one of my brothers was jailed and, although a juvenile, the authorities would not release him to our parents. The policy then was to make such prisoners clean the streets, which became humiliating for a youth when his fellow students walked by. A plantation owner offered to get my brother released if my father would share-crop for him. So one day I came home from school to be moved I didn't know where, until I found out I would be living on that man's plantation. But the owner broke his promise and made no effort to get my brother released. Just then I was reading about slavery in school and I saw slavery first hand on that plantation. This had a powerful effect on my life and I made several attempts to run away. The first time, the owner's son saw me and took me back to the plantation, but I succeeded the second time. For a year I didn't contact my parents. It was a tactic to make them leave the plantation; I thought they would see the family was falling apart there. Finally they left the plantation and found me in Grenada, Miss. I decided to return home and saw the importance of going to school. My greatest motivation was to do something practical about the conditions faced by black people, my people. I finished high school and won a 4-year scholarship to Rust College in Holly Springs, Miss. In 1960, while at Rust, I had the first opportunity to express my activism. We all knew about the sit-ins by black college students in Raleigh, North Carolina and some Rust students wanted to show our solidarity. The balcony of the movie theater in Holly Springs was segregated so we organized a student boycott of the theater. We tried to get the students at a nearby industrial college to join us, but the president made them go to the theater and break the boycott. From the boycott we moved on to voter registration in the town. That was too radical for some college officials, so they had Medgar Evers come to organize an NAACP youth chapter on campus. They made sure to exclude me and my group from this meeting, and we were never included in the chapter. But we continued to keep the boycott alive and eventually the theater closed, rather than desegregate. In fall, 1960, we met our first SNCC representative, Jim Bevel, when he came to Rust with Sam Block and Dewey Green, Jr. We organized other students to meet with them and later Dion Diamond, also from SNCC (who was arrested on charges from Louisiana and therefore couldn't return). Then came Frank Smith from Atlanta, who moved to Holly Springs in early 1962. I worked on voter registration all over northeastern Mississippi and also organized a credit union with Frank until I graduated from Rust in August. I was supposed to start medical school that fall and went home to Charleston. Bob Moses and Amzie Moore came to see me because help was needed in Sunflower County. I left the same day for Amzie's home in Cleveland, to the disappointment of my mother and with the blessings of my father. When we arrived around midnight, we got a call from Sam Block at the SNCC office in Greenwood, who was there with Lawrence Guyot and Lavaughn Brown. He said there was a group of white men with bats and chains outside the building. Bob advised Sam to escape and that we were on the way. We got there about an hour later and found the office had been ransacked. I remember that Bob turned on a noisy fan (it was hot) and we went to sleep in the office. The next morning Sam, Guyot and Brown showed up. I cut a stencil with a stylus and we mimeographed a leaflet to let people know we were still there and were not "outside agitators" who would start something and be gone overnight, as the propaganda said. After that, with no place to stay, we would all pile up on the floor at Amzie Moore's house and go over to the Greenwood office to work during the day.

3 Things began to move very fast after this. The Voter Education Project (VEP) had been privately funded, and we hd to organize for it.. We pulled together the Council of Federated Organizations (SNCC, CORE, SCLC and the NAACP) at a church in Clarksdale, Miss., with Bob Moses as COFO director. That night most of us got arrested for violating curfew. In the summer of 1962 we were working towns all over the Delta, sometimes several in the same day, and staying at Amzie's house. One day Jim Forman of SNCC came from Atlanta when we were working in Indianola. I guess we looked hungry because he asked when we had eaten last, and we couldn't remember. So he went to a local cafe and managed to get some food and we ate. More people came and settled in Ruleville-SNCC people from Mississippi and Charlie Cobb from Boston. That's when we met Fannie Lou Hamer. One day we took a busload of people from Ruleville to Indianola to register, and were harassed on the way back by police who said the bus was the wrong color. That night we had a mass meeting, where we learned that Mrs. Hamer and her family had been evicted from the plantation where she had worked many years because she refused to have her name removed from the voter rolls as the owner wanted. A few nights later, several homes in Ruleville were shot into by people trying to hit Mrs. Hamer. By this time, Sam Block and I had found a brave woman-Hatti Mae Miller-who let us stay at here home so we didn't have to go back to Cleveland every night to sleep at Amzie's. The black community in Ruleville and Greenwood had begun to open up to us, so our work intensified. As a result, we spent more time at our individual projects and then meet once a week with Bob Moses to write our reports and have workshops. In early 1963 we had a breakthrough. One church opened up to us. More and more people went to register to vote; one day 126 people attempted to register. Unable to believe this, Randolph Blackwell, Bob Moses and Jimmy Travis came from Atlanta to see for themselves. That night they insisted on leaving despite a warning from others who had been chased earlier by a group of whites. They were attacked and Jimmy Travis was shot and ended up at the university hospital in Jackson. Wiley Branton, VEP director, gave a statement to the press without consulting us in which he said that, because of the shooting, Greenwood would be made a testing-ground for the civil rights movement. This made it necessary for SNCC workers in other Mississippi projects to move to Greenwood that summer; including celebrities like comedian Dick Gregory. Many mass meetings and demonstrations were held; more arrests and racist attacks took place. For the first time we had to make mass bail for people, which the National Council of Churches helped to provide. Some spent as much as 40 days in jail. In fall 1963, discussion began of having what became the 1964 Mississippi Summer Project. At the first meeting, in Greenville, everyone voted against it, mainly though not only because of the danger (the project would bring many white people who could not be hidden in the black community as we were) and also because too often black people would agree to act because whites were asking but there would be no real consciousness-raising or commitment. In spring 1964 Bob Moses, who had opposed the project, now supported it as did Aaron Henry of the NAACP and Rev. Ed King. Bob argued that the project would bring national attention to the plight of black Mississippians. I continued to oppose it and did not participate because people felt I would "sabotage" it. In retrospect, I can understand that position because I was one of SNCC's key organizers in the state and had influence with the people. So I spent the summer between New York, for medical treatment, and Madison, Wisconsin, where SNCC's Freedom Singers performed and some including my brother became ill. That fall I enrolled in graduate school at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama because I still hoped to attend medical school. There I got involved with TIAL (Tuskegee Institute Advancement League) and asked to be an advisor. I came to know many of the students, like: Wendell Paris and his wonderful mother, Ann Anthony, Gwen Patton, George Nimrod, Simuel Schultz, and Sammy Younge, Jr. We began going to Selma

4 regularly. I worked with Sammy Younge, the Tuskegee student later murdered by a racist. Sammy was on fire, especially about working in Macon County. Sammy and others also went to Ruleville to help Mrs. Hamer. All over the South, we each had our own base but always traveled to help when needed. This is an example of the history of SNCC in Alabama that has yet to be written. When school ended, I returned to Mississippi and wrote a proposal to do a community cultural revival program. I saw people alienated from their own culture, needing to have it revived. A foundation funded the program and we did several festivals including a 3-day event in Milestone that was covered in Ebony and Downbeat magazine. But problems with the foundation and others who sought to control my work left me discouraged about how to continue. News of the murder of Sammy Younge, with whom I had been very close, was the final blow and I left Mississippi for California. I first lived in Los Angeles and worked with the Neighborhood Adult Participation Project. It was intended to bring blacks and Latinos together, but competitive local politicians got in the way. Then I did advisory work with some of the founding members of the Brown Berets and other Chicanos in East L.A. In 1970 I returned to Mississippi, where I participated in various non-profit projects while working fulltime as a hemodialysis technician at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. I married there, had a family, and then returned to California in 1989. Living in the East Bay, I have worked 10 years with Stepping Stones Growth Center, an organization that serves developmentally disabled children and adults. My duties there are in the independent living services division. I also worked for a while as an herbalist and acupressure therapist, in my own business.

Mound Bayou traces its origin to people from the community of Davis Bend, Mississippi. The latter was started in the 1820s by the planter Joseph E. Davis, who intended to create a model slave community on his plantation. Davis was influenced by the utopian ideas of Robert Owen. He encouraged self-leadership in the slave community, provided a higher standard of nutrition and health and dental care, and allowed slaves to become merchants. In the aftermath of the American Civil War, Davis Bend became an autonomous free community when Davis sold his property to former slave Benjamin Montgomery, who had run a store and been a prominent leader at Davis Bend. The prolonged agricultural depression, falling cotton prices and white hostility in the region contributed to the economic failure of Davis Bend. Isaiah T. Montgomery led the founding of Mound Bayou in 1887 in wilderness in northwest Mississippi. The bottomlands of the Delta were a relatively undeveloped frontier, and blacks had a chance to clear land and acquire ownership in such frontier areas. Mound Bayou was an all black town in the Yazoo Delta in Northwest Mississippi. It was founded ….by twelve pioneers from Davis Bend, a fledgling black colony impacted by falling agricultural prices, natural disasters, and hostile race relations. This migration movement was led by Isaiah Montgomery, former patriarch of Davis Bend. Purchased from the Louisville, New Orleans, and Texas Railroad (L, NO & T), Mound Bayou bordered a new rail line between Memphis and Vicksburg. From 1890 to 1915, Mound Bayou was a land of promise for African Americans. Encapsulated in this “promise” were self-help, race pride, economic opportunity, and social justice, in a self-segregated community designed for blacks to have minimum contact with whites until integration was a viable option to black freedom. By 1900 two-thirds of the owners of land in the bottomlands were black farmers. With high debt and continuing agricultural problems, most of them lost their land and by 1920 were sharecroppers. Montgomery led the village through the 1920s. As cotton prices fell, the town suffered a severe economic

5 decline in the 1920s and 1930s. Mound Bayou had a U.S. Post Office, six churches, banks, stores, and several public and private schools. Its economy depended on the production of cotton, timber, and corn, and being an agent for the L, NO & T Railroad. Politically, Mound Bayou’s mayor Isaiah Montgomery protected it from white violence through political accommodation. Montgomery also ensured Mound Bayou’s growth by working closely with Booker T. Washington after 1900, through his “lieutenant” Charles Banks. Socially, Mound Bayou had an exceptionally low crime rate, high morals (i.e., no gambling or sale of alcohol), and everyone had to be a useful member of the community. Through outlets like the town’s newspaper, The Demonstrator (1900), Mound Bayou promoted education as an essential path to community survival, in particular vocational education in scientific agriculture through the Mound Bayou Normal and Industrial Institute. From 1907 to 1915, this infrastructure, along with Mound Bayou’s function as a railroad center, allowed it to flourish and grow to 8,000 people by 1911. Its noticeable decline occurred during the Great Migration period (19151930), in which cotton prices fell, Booker T. Washington passed away, and the black path towards freedom was redirected from independent towns towards the major cities of the United States. Shortly after a fire destroyed much of the business district, Mound Bayou began to arrive in 1942 after the opening of the Taborian Hospital by the International Order of Twelve Knights and Daughters of Tabor, a fraternal organization. For more than two decades, the hospital provided low-cost health care to thousands of blacks in the Mississippi Delta. The chief surgeon was Dr. T.R.M. Howard who eventually became one of the wealthiest blacks in the state. Howard owned a plantation of more than one thousand acres, homeconstruction firm, small zoo and built the first swimming pool for blacks in Mississippi. In 1952, Medgar Evers moved to Mound Bayou to sell insurance for Howard's Magnolia Mutual Life Insurance Company. Howard also introduced Evers to civil rights through his Regional Council of Negro Leadership which organized service stations which refused to provide restrooms for blacks. The RNCL's annual rallies in Mound Bayou between 1952 and 1955 drew crowds of ten thousand or more. During the trial of Emmett Till's alleged killers, black reporters and witnesses stayed in Howard's Mound Bayou home who gave them an armed escort to the court house in Sumner.

The post Civil War years were marked by a separatist impulse as blacks exercised the right to move and gather beyond white supervision or control. They developed black churches, benevolent societies, fraternal orders and fire companies. In some areas they moved from farms into towns, as in middle Tennessee, or to cities that needed rebuilding, such as Atlanta. Black churches were the focal points of black communities, and their members' quickly seceding from white churches demonstrated their desire to manage their own affairs independently of white supervision. It also showed the prior strength of the "invisible church" hidden from white eyes. In 1870 in Jackson, Tennessee, with support from white colleagues of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, more than 40 black Southern ministers, all freedmen and former slaves, met to establish the Southernbased Colored Methodist Episcopal (CME) Church (now Christian Methodist Episcopal Church), founded as an independent branch of Methodism. They took their mostly black congregations with them. They adopted the Methodist Doctrine and elected their first two bishops, William H. Miles of Kentucky and Richard H. Vanderhorst of South Carolina. Within three years, from a base of about 40,000, they had grown to 67,000 members, and more than 10 times that many in 50 years. At the same time, black Baptist churches, well-established before the Civil War, continued to grow and add new congregations. With the rapid growth of black Baptist churches in the South, in 1894 church officials organized a new Baptist association, the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.. …These churches blended elements from underground churches with elements from freely established black churches. Black preachers provided leadership, encouraged education and economic growth, and were often the

6 primary link between the black and white communities. The black church established and/or maintained the first black schools and encouraged community members to fund these schools and other public services. For most black leaders, the churches always were connected to political goals of advancing the race. Since the male hierarchy denied them opportunities for ordination, middle-class women in the black church asserted themselves in other ways: they organized missionary societies to address social issues. These societies provided job training and reading education, worked for better living conditions, raised money for African missions, wrote religious periodicals, and promoted Victorian ideals of womanhood, respectability, and racial uplift

During its long history the YWCA has contributed to women in a variety of ways. The YWCA has played a key role in many of the major movements in the U.S. in race relations, labor union representation, and through developing and implementing empowerment programs for women. * 1890s: YMCA opened the First African American YWCA branch in Dayton, OH and the first YWCA for Native American women in Oklahoma. Years later, in 1909, the YWCA began offering bilingual instruction to help immigrant women. * 1915: The YWCA held the first interracial conference in the south, which was conducted in Louisville, Kentucky. * 1930s: YWCA worked towards desegregation and to protect African American civil rights in the U.S. It actively encouraged YWCA members to openly speak out against lynching and mob violence against black Americans. * 1940s: In 1942 the YWCA opened its services to Japanese American women and girls incarcerated in World War II Relocation Centers. And in 1946 the “YWCA adopted its Interracial Charter – eight years before the United States Supreme Court decision against segregation.” * 1950s: During the 1950s the U.S. YWCA sent leaders to address local villages of African countries that were becoming independent. The YWCA inspired and helped women establish their own leadership and pooled resources to create YWCAs in Kenya, Uganda, Rhodesia, South Africa and other regions. * 1966: Participated in Project Equality and began refusing business dealings with companies that have discriminatory employment practices including withdrawing funds from banks that overtly participated in the South African Consortium.

The Highlander Folk School was originally established in Grundy County, Tennessee. When Highlander was founded in 1932, the United States was in the midst of the Great Depression. Workers in all parts of the country were met with major resistance by employers when they tried to organize labor unions, especially in the South. Against that backdrop, Horton, West and Dombrowski created the Highlander School "to provide an educational center in the South for the training of rural and industrial leaders, and for the conservation and enrichment of the indigenous cultural values of the mountains." Horton was influenced by observing rural adult education schools in Denmark …During the 1930s and 1940s, the school's main focus was labor education and the training of labor organizers. In the 1950s, Highlander turned its energies to the rising issues of civil rights and desegregation. ….Highlander worked with Esau Jenkins of Johns Island to develop a literacy program for blacks who were prevented from registering to vote by literacy requirements. The program was replicated throughout the South under the name Citizenship Schools. Later the program was adopted by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. The civil rights anthem "We Shall Overcome" was adapted (from a gospel song) by Highlander music director, Zilphia Horton, wife of Myles Horton, from the singing of striking tobacco factory workers in South Carolina in 1946…


HISTORICALLY BLACK COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES Most HBCUs were established after the American Civil War. However, Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, established in 1837, Lincoln University (Pennsylvania), established in 1854, and Wilberforce University, established in 1856, were established for blacks prior to the American Civil War. In 1863, the Morrill Act provided for land grant colleges in each state. Some educational institutions in the North or West, were open to blacks since the Civil War. However, 17 Southern states generally excluded blacks from their land grant colleges. In response, the second Morrill Act of 1890 was passed to require states to establish a separate land grant college for blacks if blacks were being excluded from the then existing land grant college. Many of the HBCUs were founded in response to the Second Morrill Act. These land grant schools continue to receive annual federal funding for their research, extention and outreach activities. In 1965, the Higher Education Act of 1965 established a program for direct federal grants to HBCUs, including federal matching of private endowment contributions. Students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) inspired legions of protestors of every race and gender to join the movement. By the end of March 1960, the sit-in movement had spread to more than 55 cities in 13 states.
DATE STARTED CITY Feb. 1, 1960 Greensboro, N.C. Feb. 8, 1960 Durham, N.C. Fayetteville, N.C. Winston-Salem, N.C. Feb. 9, 1960 Charlotte, N.C. Concord, N.C. Elizabeth City, N.C. Henderson, N.C. High Point, N.C. Feb. 10, 1960 Raleigh, N.C. Feb. 11, 1960 Feb. 12, 1960 Feb. 13, 1960 Feb. 14, 1960 Feb. 16, 1960 Feb. 17, 1960 Feb. 18, 1960 Feb. 19, 1960 Feb. 20, 1960 Feb. 22, 1960 Feb. 24, 1960 Feb. 26, 1960 Hampton, Va. Portsmouth, Va. Rock Hill, S.C. Nashville, Tenn. Tallahassee, Fla. Sumter, S.C. Salisbury, N.C. Chapel Hill, N.C. Charleston, S.C. Shelby, N.C. Chattanooga, Tenn. Richmond, Va. Baltimore, Md. Frankfort, Ky. Montgomery, Ala. Orangeburg, S.C. Lexington, Ky. Petersburg, Va. Tuskegee, Ala. Tampa, Fla. Columbia, S.C. Daytona Beach, Fla. HBCUs PRODUCING SIT-IN STUDENT LEADERS N.C. A&T University North Carolina College at Durham Fayetteville State Teachers College Winston-Salem Teachers College Johnson C. Smith University Barber-Scotia College Elizabeth City State Teachers College

Saint Augustine's College Shaw University Hampton University Clinton-Junior College Fisk University Florida A&M University Morris College Livingstone College

Virginia Union University Coppin State Teachers College State Normal School for Colored Persons Alabama State College Clafin College Virginia State College Tuskegee Institute Allen University Benedict College Bethune-Cookman College

Feb. 27, 1960 March 2, 1960

March 4, 1960 March 7, 1960 March 8, 1960 March 10, 1960 March 11, 1960 March 12, 1960 March 13, 1960 March 15, 1960 St. Petersburg, Fla. Houston, Texas Miami, Fla. Knoxville, Tenn. New Orleans Little Rock, Ar. Austin, Texas Galveston, Texas Jacksonville, Fla. San Antonio, Texas Atlanta, Ga. Texas Southern University Florida Memorial College Knoxville College Dillard University Southern University Arkansas Baptist College Huston-Tillotson College Edward Waters College Clark College Morehouse College Morris Brown College Spelman College

March 16, 1960 March 17, 1960 March 19, 1960

March 26, 1960 March 28, 1960 March 29, 1960 March 31, 1960 April 2, 1960 April 4, 1960 April 9, 1960 April 12, 1960 April 17, 1960 April 23, 1960 April 24, 1960 April 28, 1960

Corpus Christi, Texas St. Augustine, Fla. Statesville, N.C. Savannah, Ga. New Bern, N.C. Memphis, Tenn. Wilmington, N.C. Arlington, Va. Lynchburg, Va. Baton Rouge, La. Marshall, Texas Birmingham, Ala. Danville, Va. Darlington, S.C. Augusta, Ga. Norfolk, Va. Biloxi, Miss. Starkville, Miss. Charleston, S.C. Dallas, Texas

Savannah State College Owen Junior College

Southern University Wiley College Wenonah State Technical Institute

Paine College Norfolk Division - Virginia State College

Paul Quinn College

Black Leaders
Booker Taliaferro Washington (April 5, 1856 – November 14, 1915) Washington was born into slavery to a white father and a slave mother in a rural area in southwestern Virginia. After emancipation, he worked in West Virginia in a variety of manual labor jobs before making his way to Hampton Roads seeking an education. He worked his way through Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute (now Hampton University) and attended college at Wayland Seminary. After returning to Hampton as a teacher, in 1881 he was named as the first leader of the new Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. Ida B Wells Ida Bell Wells was born in Holly Springs, Mississippi in 1862…. Her father James Wells was a carpenter and her mother was Elizabeth "Lizzie" Warrenton Wells. Both parents were slaves until freed at the end of the Civil War. …. Wells' parents took their children's education very seriously. They wanted their children to take advantage of having the opportunity to be educated and attend school. Wells attended the Freedmen's School Shaw University, now Rust College in Holly Springs. She was expelled from Rust College for her rebellious behavior and temper after confronting the President of the college. … When she was 16, both Wells' parents and her 10-month old brother, Stanley, died of yellow fever during an epidemic that swept

9 through the South …….In 1883, Wells moved to Memphis. There she got a teaching job, and during her summer vacations she attended summer sessions at Fisk University in Nashville, whose graduates were well respected in the black community. She also attended LeMoyne Institute. Wells held strong political opinions and she upset many people with her views on women's rights. When she was 24, she wrote, "I will not begin at this late day by doing what my soul abhors; sugaring men, weak deceitful creatures, with flattery to retain them as escorts or to gratify a revenge." W.E.B. Dubois In 1888 Du Bois earned a degree from Fisk University, a historically black college in Nashville, Tennessee. ….Du Bois entered Harvard College in the fall of 1888, having received a $250 scholarship. He earned a bachelor's degree cum laude from Harvard in 1890. In 1892, he received a fellowship from the John F. Slater Fund for the Education of Freedmen to attend the University of Berlin for graduate work. While a student in Berlin, he traveled extensively throughout Europe. James Weldon Johnson (June 17, 1871 – June 26, 1938) Johnson is remembered best for his leadership within the NAACP, as well as for his writing, which includes novels, poems, and collections of folklore. He was also one of the first African-American professors at New York University. Later in life he was a professor of creative literature and writing at Fisk University. While attending Atlanta University Johnson became known as an influential campus speaker. …In 1904 Johnson accepted a position as the treasurer of the Colored Republican Club started by Charles W. Anderson. A year later he became the president of the club. His duties as president included organizing political rallies. During 1914 Johnson became editor of the editorial page of the New York Age, an influential African American weekly newspaper that had supported Booker T. Washington in his propaganda struggle with fellow African American W. E. B. Du Bois during the early twentieth century. In the fall of 1916, ….he was asked to become the national organizer for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Opposing race riots in northern cities and the lynchings that pervaded the South during and immediately after the end of World War I, Johnson engaged the NAACP in mass tactics, such as a silent protest parade down New York's Fifth Avenue in which ten thousand African Americans took part on July 28, 1917. In 1920 Johnson was elected to manage the NAACP, the first African American to hold this position. Served as an organizer and secretary in the NAACP from 1914 through 1930 . A. (Asa) Philip Randolph (April 15, 1889 – May 16, 1979) was the founder of both the March on Washington Movement and the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. Randolph was born in Crescent City, Florida, the second son of the Rev. James William Randolph, a tailor and ordained minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and Elizabeth Robinson Randolph, a skilled seamstress. In 1891 the family moved to Jacksonville, Florida, which had a thriving, well-established African American community. He attended the Cookman Institute in East Jacksonville, for years the only academic high school in Florida for African Americans. After graduation, Randolph worked odd jobs and devoted his time to singing, acting and reading. .. In 1914 Randolph courted and married Mrs. Lucille E. Green, a Howard University graduate and entrepreneur who shared his socialist politics. She earned enough money to support them both. … In 1917 Randolph and Owen founded the Messenger with the help of the Socialist Party. It was a radical monthly magazine, which campaigned against lynching, opposed U.S. participation in World War I, urged African Americans to resist being drafted to fight for a segregated society, and recommended they join radical unions. Bayard Rustin Rustin was born in West Chester, Pennsylvania. He was raised by his maternal grandparents. Rustin's grandmother Julia Rustin was a Quaker, …was also a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). NAACP leaders such as W.E.B. Du Bois and James Weldon Johnson were frequent guests in the Rustin home. In 1932, Rustin entered Wilberforce University, a historically black college (HBCU) in Ohio operated by the AME Church. …taking his final exams, and

10 later attended Cheyney State Teachers College (now Cheyney University of Pennsylvania). After completing an activist training program conducted by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), Rustin moved to Harlem in 1937 … Was an important advisor to Martin Luther King, Jr. during the early months of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. James Lawson Born in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, Lawson grew up in Massillon, Ohio. While a freshman at Baldwin Wallace College in Berea, Ohio, he joined the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR), an organization founded by A.J. Muste, and the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), an organization affiliated with FOR. Both FOR and CORE advocated nonviolent resistance to racism; CORE conducted sit-ins in some northern cities in the late 1940s and embarked on a freedom ride more than a decade before the more famous ones of the early 1960s. Consistent with those principles of nonviolence, Lawson declared himself a conscientious objector and refused to report for the draft in 1951. He served fourteen months in prison after refusing to take either a student or ministerial deferment. Jo Ann Robinson (1912–1992) was a civil rights activist and educator in Montgomery, Alabama. Born near Culloden, Georgia, she was the youngest of twelve children. She attended Fort Valley State College and then became a public school teacher in Macon, where she was married to Wilbur Robinson for a short time. Five years later, she went to Atlanta, where she earned an M.A. in English at Atlanta University. She then accepted a position at Alabama State College in Montgomery. It was there that she joined the Women's Political Council, which Mary Fair Burks had founded three years earlier. In 1949, Robinson was verbally attacked by a bus driver and she decided that something had to change. In late 1950, she succeeded Burks as president of the WPC and helped focus the group's efforts on bus abuses. E.D Nixon E.D. Nixon led the local Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, the local NAACP, the Montgomery Welfare League, and the Montgomery Voters League at various points in his life. His activism was a catalyst for the Montgomery Bus Boycott and its success, and was also instrumental in forming the Montgomery Improvement Association. Nixon was born on July 12, 1899 in Montgomery. As a boy, Nixon received about one year of formal education. After working in a train station baggage room, he finally became a Pullman car porter. Years before the bus boycott, Nixon had started campaigning for voting rights and civil rights for AfricanAmericans in Montgomery. He served as an unelected advocate for the African-American community, helping individuals deal with uncooperative white office holders, policemen, and civil servants. In 1940, Nixon organized 750 African-American men to march to the Montgomery County courthouse and attempt to register to vote. In 1954, he ran for a seat on the county Democratic Executive Committee. The next year, he questioned the Democratic candidates to the Montgomery City Commission on their positions on civil rights issues.

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