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I've Got the Light of Freedom
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Table of Contents

PREFACE TO THE 2007 EDITION

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

INTRODUCTION

ONE
SETTING THE STAGE

TWO
TESTING THE LIMITS
Black Activism in Postwar Mississippi

THREE
GIVE LIGHT AND THE PEOPLE WILL FIND A WAY
The Roots of an Organizing Tradition

FOUR
MOVING ON MISSISSIPPI

FIVE
GREENWOOD
Building on the Past

SIX
IF YOU DON'T GO, DON'T HINDER ME
The Redefinition of Leadership

SEVEN
THEY KEPT THE STORY BEFORE ME
Families and Traditions

EIGHT
SLOW AND RESPECTFUL WORK
Organizers and Organizing

NINE
A WOMAN S WAR

TEN
TRANSITIONS

ELEVEN
CARRYING ON
The Politics of Empowerment

TWELVE
FROM SNCC TO SLICK
The Demoralization if the Movement

THIRTEEN
MRS. HAMER IS NO LONGER RELEVANT
The Loss if the Organizing Tradition

FOURTEEN
THE ROUGH DRAFT OF HISTORY

EPILOGUE

BIBLIOGRAPHIC ESSAY:
THE SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION OF HISTORY

NOTES

INTERVIEWS

INDEX

About the Author

Charles M. Payne is Professor and Bass Fellow, African American Studies, History and Sociology, Duke University

Reviews

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.)

Payne (African American studies, Northwestern Univ.) presents an illuminating examination of the Civil Rights movement at the local level, in this case Greenwood, Mississippi, in the 1960s. As Payne deftly grafts Greenwood's struggle onto the larger movement, he challenges several widely accepted conclusions, such as overemphasizing a core cadre of male leaders while overlooking the important contributions of women and youth and the belief that the black church was an early leader in the movement. Much of Payne's information is culled from oral interviews with actual movement participants. The result is an important history of the Civil Rights movement at the grass-roots level that is reminiscent of Robert Norrell's Reaping the Whirlwind: The Civil Rights Movement in Tuskegee (Knopf, 1985). The excellent bibliographic essay is essential reading. Recommended for any library that collects Civil Rights materials.-Jonathan Jeffrey, Western Kentucky Univ., Bowling Green

"Not a comprehensive history of the civil rights movement in Mississippi, this thoughtful study instead analyzes the legacy of community organizing there. . . . 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." * Publishers Weekly *
"An illuminating examination of the Civil Rights movement at the local level, in this case Greenwood, Mississippi, in the 1960s. As Payne deftly grafts Greenwood's struggle onto the larger movement, he challenges several widely accepted conclusions, such as overemphasizing a core cadre of male leaders while overlooking the important contributions of women and youth and the belief that the black church was an early leader in the movement. Much of Payne's information is culled from oral interviews with actual movement participants. The result is an important history of the Civil Rights movement at the grass-roots level . . . The excellent bibliographic essay is essential reading. Recommended for any library that collects Civil Rights materials." * Library Journal *

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