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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: 21 September 2021

A Moment Lost

A Moment Lost

(p.218) Chapter Eight A Moment Lost
Robert Parris Moses

Laura Visser-Maessen

University of North Carolina Press

Detailing the journey from the foundation of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) to its seating challenge at the 1964 Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City, this chapter analyses the role out-of-state forces and organizers with broad strategic visions within the Movement—especially Moses—played in the Challenge’s realization, which helps to appreciate more fully why Moses and SNCC-workers felt so betrayed by what transpired in Atlantic City.Through new primary documents and Moses’ own recollections, it features the people whose advice Moses followed and the degree of Moses’s and SNCC’s structural support in realizing the Challenge while simultaneously demonstrating how its success depended on grassroots leadership, thereby underscoringthe tensions between Moses’s conception of leadership and (political) reality. The chapter concludes with an examination of the short term and long term effects of ‘Atlantic City’ on Moses, President Lyndon Johnson, the movement at large, COFOand the Mississippi movement. The beginning of the end, it captures the breakdown of internal unity, but also underscores the MFDP’s significance for the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Keywords:   Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party/MFDP, 1964 Democratic National Convention, Lyndon Johnson, Voting Rights Act of 1965, Grassroots leadership, COFO

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