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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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Freedom Is a Constant Struggle

Freedom Is a Constant Struggle

(p.186) Chapter Seven Freedom Is a Constant Struggle
Robert Parris Moses

Laura Visser-Maessen

University of North Carolina Press

Chronicling the destructive events of the Freedom Summer of 1964, this chapter investigates how the Project became the most challenging, and final, test of Moses’s organizational leadership approach. For the summer’s duration he succeeded in uniting national and local black leadership, and northern white liberals, around the priority of ending racial violence and democratizing the South. By emphasizing Moses’s daily activities and means to safeguard his organizational leadership approach, it traces his behind-the-scenes role in engaging multiple Northerners with valuable resources such as Allard Lowenstein, lawyers, unions, academics, and the federal government; the realization of projects such as the Freedom Schools and Community Centers; and in creating a tight ground organization in Mississippi. The latter specifies his decisive impact on the selection of volunteers, the orientation sessions they received, use of publicity for the Project, and on smoothing over inter-organizational rivalry. It additionally showcases his pragmatic approach in quelling race conflicts between the volunteers and the COFO-staff, discussions on nonviolence, and in maintaining sanity after the brutal murder of workers James Chaney, Michael Schwerner, and Andrew Goodman despite his own apprehensions and fears.

Keywords:   Freedom Summer, Allard Lowenstein, Inter-organizational rivalry, James Chaney, Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman, Orientation, Freedom Schools, Community Centers, Volunteers

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