SNCC: The New Abolitionists

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South End Press, 2002 - History - 286 pages

Howard Zinn tells the story of one of the most important political groups in American history. SNCC: The New Abolitionists influenced a generation of activists struggling for civil rights and seeking to learn from the successes and failures of those who built the fantastically influential Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. It is considered an indispensable study of the organization, of the 1960s, and of the process of social change. Includes a new introduction by the author.

 

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SNCC: The New Abolitionists

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This book is not, the author would have us know, a history of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee "in any formal sense. it leaves out too much for that." Perhaps it does, but what has ... Read full review

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This is an engaging, galvanizing, and revealing work on the Student Nonviolent Co-ordinating Committee. Zinn claims in the preface that it's not a complete history; it's not that, nor is it impartial. Zinn was himself there, sweating with the marchers, listening to Fannie Lou Hamer, and shaking with indignation at the segregationists. He describes SNCC mission and connects it to broader concurrent social movements. He argues the merits of nonviolence, the necessity of black-white unity, and for intervention by the Federal government. You learn about the Freedom Rides, Freedom Summer, McComb, and lots of everything else in between.
Here are the three biggest things I take away from reading it:
-SNCC was revolutionary, effective, and flexible because it was not dogmatic and doctrinal. The students believed in racial equality, social justice, and nonviolence, but they didn't have a manifesto or party allegiances.
-Our collegiate education system back then and now is archaic and out of touch with the real world. Is it something I need to participate in?
-How "nonviolent" was the CRM if one of their main goals was to provoke the Federal government to use force to uphold civil rights law?
 

Contents

II
1
III
16
IV
40
V
62
VI
79
VII
102
VIII
123
IX
147
X
167
XI
190
XII
216
XIII
242
XIV
276
Copyright

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About the author (2002)

Howard Zinn is professor emeritus at Boston University.

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