Sunday, April 25, 2010

Looking Back, Looking Forward: SNCC's 50th and the Ongoing Battle for Democracy


We’ll Never Turn Back:

SNCC 50th Anniversary

Celebrates Vanguard Role

In Battles for Democracy

By CCDS Participants

More than 1100 people gathered at Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina over the April 15-18 weekend for a 50th Anniversary gathering of the veterans of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and its close allies. SNCC was an early vanguard force in the Southern Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, as well as the Black Revolt that spread nationwide in its wake.

The reunion was an outpouring of powerful emotions, living history and inspiring visions of radical democratic change still needed in the politics of today. These were the people, now graying, who had put their bodies and their lives on the line to bring down Jim Crow segregation, gain Black political power and help end an unjust war in Vietnam. In the process, they had won major victories but were also well aware of work still to be done.

People travelled from every corner of the country to attend. They were Black and white, Asian and Chicano, and they came from all walks of life--some arrived in the bib blue jean overalls of the sharecroppers in the Deep South, while others wore dark business suits, colorful dashikis and everything in between. Most of all, their faces beamed with smiles. There were joyful and tearful embraces, many rooted in the pent-up sufferings and memories of those who had fallen, both at the time and over the years since.

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