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Robert Parris MosesA Life in Civil Rights and Leadership at the Grassroots$
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Laura Visser-Maessen

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781469627984

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469627984.001.0001

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A Movement Education

A Movement Education

(p.37) Chapter Two A Movement Education
Robert Parris Moses

Laura Visser-Maessen

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter introduces the main players in the civil rights movement—most notably Martin Luther King and his SCLC, the NAACP, Ella Baker, and SNCC—as encountered by Moses during the summer of 1960. It examines Moses’s difficulty fitting into the movement and his search for a form of activism that suited his personality, skills, and beliefs, which he eventually found through his rapport with veteran civil rights workers Ella Baker and Amzie Moore. Specifying Moses’s disappointment with the bureaucratic SCLC and his attraction to the freewheeling SNCC, it underscores the relationship between organizational culture and individuals’ ability to thrive. An analysis of Moses’s first meetings with King and SNCC juxtaposes their differences andsimilarities, particularly in regards to Communist involvement in the movement.Moses’s first trip to Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana is delineated, illuminatinghow patient networking laid the basis for SNCC’s work in the rural South. These detail which grassroots movement leaders Moses visited, and how he enticed them to SNCC. New details concerning Moses’s first encounter with Moore and their jointvoter registration project showcase issues of (dis)continuity in movement activism, especially the relationship between grassroots leadership and outside help.

Keywords:   Martin Luther King, Ella Baker, NAACP, SCLC, Amzie Moore, Organizational culture, Communist involvement, Mississippi, Voter registration project, Networking

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