1967: White members kicked out of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)
Bob Zellner: My anguish was extreme after getting kicked out of SNCC; my discontent was immense. But my understanding was very strong of what was going on….
We were exhausted in '67; burned out; tremendous changes had taken place; large numbers of white volunteers, many of whom had 90 days of experience.
Charles Marsh: How do you understand the decision?
BZ: As unnecessary; as a strategic question because of procedure and ethics. I focused my criticism on what needed to be done; we need to use our experience in the white community. Black Power can be brought to the black community and pursued without racist implications; but whites alone cannot organizes whites without racist implications. Without it being racists--of course, this is what the Klan had been doing. White organizers needed black organizers; we need blacks to help.
The dismissal was a public relations move. Also Vietnam and the Palestinian questions. To be an all black organization.
The irony is compounded because at this point Malcolm X was becoming more inclusive.
Jim Forman understood my position; because we needed to organize together. We need some black folks helping out. Also Walter Collins.
In any case, I was on my way to New Orleans.
There was some rhetoric about coalition building; but that was never pursued. There is also the irony that we were out there building the GROW Project and no coalition was ever extended.
Sellers's business about exhaustion and having to move on is not quite right; for the question about whites was considered at great length. See Forman book. It was also very SNCC that the whites didn't vote for retaining themselves; people leading campaigns against whites--Atlanta Project--Forman has strongly implied that the military types of militants were co-intel agents. Forman did believe these people were used.
Cleve was an active voice; Ruby Doris and Stokely Starmichael. But handicapped in this way; he had become a program director.
When Rap Brown was in jail on the coast, I visited him often. He said, "Isn't it ironic that we threw you out of the SNCC but you're the only one who will visit me in jail."