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Strategic SisterhoodThe National Council of Negro Women in the Black Freedom Struggle$
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Rebecca Tuuri

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781469638904

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469638904.001.0001

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High Heels on the Ground

High Heels on the Ground

The Power of Personal Witness, 1964

(p.56) Chapter Three High Heels on the Ground
Strategic Sisterhood

Rebecca Tuuri

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter examines the first summer of the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW)-sponsored civil rights organization Wednesdays in Mississippi (WIMS). WIMS brought down forty-eight black and white, Protestant, Jewish, and Catholic women from northern and Midwestern cities to personally witness and provide support for the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer, sponsored by the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO). WIMS relied on a behind-the-scenes approach that did not publicly challenge segregation, but sought to quietly reason with local women to support civil rights activists fighting for voting rights and desegregation of schools, businesses, and other facilities. Although the strategy of personal witness proved limited, WIMS helped connect NCNW to local black activists in Mississippi who advocated for more direct action protests and planted the seeds for a later change of NCNW's direction.

Keywords:   National Council of Negro Women, NCNW, Freedom Summer, Wednesdays in Mississippi, Personal witness, Polly Cowan, Interracial women, Interfaith women, Dorothy Height, Council of Federated Organizations

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