Recently, I re-read a book which
was important to us over 25 years ago.
Voices of freedom: an oral history of the civil rights
movement from the 1950s through the 1980s By: Fayer, Steve; Flynn, Sarah;
When Congressman John Lewis died earlier this year, a friend
wrote to me, talking about Lewis’s heroism.
I knew I should know him, but I couldn’t remember. My
daughter Sarah told me, “A famous leader in the civil rights movement.”
My husband Murray reminded me of the book I’d read and
bought for him over 25 years ago, VOICES
I remembered the book and decided I’d like to read it again.
It was published in 1990, but it is still available as a kindle book.
This book is an oral history of the civil rights movement,
taken from interviews for the TV show “Eyes to the Prize.” The book covers
mostly the 1950s through the 80s, but it goes back to the beginning of the United
States, disagreements over slavery from the beginning, and those who fought for
rights of Black people throughout the country’s history.
Some storied included:
The Montgomery bus boycott, 1955-56. School desegregation in
Little Rock Arkansas, Central High School.
In 1959-60, student sit-ins for lunch counters. They had
workshops to prepare for this with non-violence, how to protect their heads
from beatings, how to protect each other, how to not strike back when they were
hit, how to show respect for the workers in the restaurants. This is where I
first heard of John Lewis, in 1960 when he was a twenty-year-old college
student in Nashville.
The Freedom Ride of 1961, where we again met John Lewis.
Both blacks and whites joining together on interstate bus rides.
The beginning of SNCC, Student Non-Violent Coordination
James Meredith, the first black student to attend Old Miss
in 1962, the University of Mississippi.
In 1963, the March on Washington, with speeches from both John
Lewis and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
1963, the bombing of a church in Birmingham with the death
of four children.
1965, Selma, Alabama bridge, marching from Selma to
The Voting Rights Act, signed in August, 1965.
1967-68, Dr. Martin Luther King’ Jr.’s last work and
1970-71 prison uprising in New York State, call for reform.
In 1972 Gary, Indiana, they held a Black Political
Convention—Unity Without Uniformity.
Other issues discussed were bussing, affirmative action,
Equal Opportunity, better housing, better education.
This is a book of history, but recent history, and I
believe, a very important issue for us to think about right now. It’s important
to remember these people who worked so hard and gave so much. I pray and ask
God for wisdom to help us to find peace in our own times.
Others mentioned in the book: Emmett Till; Ralph Abernathy;
Daisy Bates; Medgar Evers; Fred Shuttlesworth; A. Philip Randolph; Fannie Lou
Hamer; Bob Moses; Amelia Bointon Robinson; Stokely Carmichael; Huey Newton;
Sonia Sanchez; Roger Wilkins; Paula Giddings; Marian Logan; William O’Neal;
Elliott James Barkley; Jesse Jackson; Ben Chavis; Richard Hatcher; Ron Walters;
Phyllis Ellison; Ethel Mae Matthews; Maynard Jackson; Yusef Hawkins.