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A Circle of Trust: Remembering SNCC

by Cheryl Lynn Greenberg

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Activists and historians reflect together on the civil rights movement and its meanings, and on the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee's place in American history. "The reminiscences and reflections voiced at the SNCC reunion remind us of the remarkable vision and courageous dedication of the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Framed by Cheryl Greenberg's eloquent and probing introduction, the SNCC veterans' comments about the triumphs and limitations of their movement represent a major contribution to the historical literature on race and power in modern America."--Raymond Arsenault, University of South Florida On the occasion of the SNCC's 25th anniversary, more than 500 people gathered at Trinity College in Connecticut to both celebrate and critique its accomplishments. More than 40 SNCC members tell their stories and reflect on the contributions, limits and legacies of the movement in A Circle of Trust. Engaging in spirited debate with each other, with historians of the movement, and with contemporary political culture more broadly, these former and perpetual activists speak of their vision of a just society and what still remains to be done. With increasing racial tension and the continued debate over integration and separatism in America in the 1990s, the content of this conference is more relevant than ever. Cheryl Lynn Greenberg begins with an overview of SNCC and introduces each of the chapters of oral history. Participants explore the origins of SNCC, its early adoption of nonviolent protest, its ultimate renunciation of liberal integration and embrace of militant black radicalism, its refusal to repudiate far-left organizations, and controversies over the roles of women in SNCC and society at large. The result is a thoughtful, moving, sometimes acrimonious, sometimes celebratory account of one of the most significant civil rights organizations and its successes and failures.… (more)

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