...we would educate the nation about Mississippi.

Charles Marsh: A wonderful passage in 2nd Corinthians when Paul is talking about reconciliation and he says, just as God had reconciled the… from Jesus Christ, be ye… Bob Moses said in early 1964, this is Mississippi, the middle of the iceberg, our voice is a tremor in the middle of the iceberg, from a stone that the builders rejected, you made a similar comment about the momentous possibiliites awaiting 1964. Strategically, why was this the case? So much was hanging on Mississippi in the summer of 64.

John Lewis: Well Mississippi divided us and… literally bring the nation to Mississippi. In a sense, we can sort of take Mississippi to the nation, we have to bring people there and we have to get people to bear witness to… and the involve hundreds of young people, other organizations and groups, church groups, to let people see the lack of political participation, the poverty of policies that existed there. To have a situation where there were more than 450,000 blacks of voting age and only about 60,000 registered to vote in 64. We had to find a way to dramatize it and the best way was to bring not just black, but a large number of young whites, and let people live alongside… the citizens of Mississippi, and in the process, everyone cannot only educate ourselves and the volunteers, but we would educate the nation about Mississippi. The Mississippi effort was an all consuming effort. It was a very dangerous effort, but it was something that had to be done.

» Go to excerpt page