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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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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 26 September 2021

A New Dimension

A New Dimension

(p.128) Chapter Five A New Dimension
Robert Parris Moses

Laura Visser-Maessen

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter details how Moses’s strategyevolved into one that involved the nation at large and forced the Kennedy administration into action between fall 1962-September 1963. By analysinghow local and national events intertwined in Mississippi and how fulltime activists effectively mediated in between, it underscores the significance of SNCC—and particularly Moses—in developing a national strategy that respected rather than undermined local agency.Emphasis is given to the function of the federal governmentin Moses’s strategy, revealing how his unique character accelerated a workable approach with John Doar and the Justice Department. Other themes include how the federal response to the University of Mississippi riots, theBirmingham protests, and the March on Washington influenced Moses’s thinking; how the Greenwood, Jackson, and Birmingham demonstrations underscored the methodological differences between SNCC, SCLC, and the NAACP; and the lessons Moses drew from this. Detailing Moses’s behind-the-scenes activities, new light is shed on how his own background, skills,contacts, and priorities influenced his daily work, andhow Moses functioned as a resource for local blacks, and as a teacher who guided movement workers into accepting a strategy emphasizing political action, education, universal voting rights, economic equality, and ending racial violence and black migration northward.

Keywords:   Kennedy administration, Justice Department, John Doar, University of Mississippi riots, Birmingham, Greenwood, Jackson, March on Washington, Racial violence, Black migration

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