Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Urban Politico Celebrates Black History Month: Black women in SNCC

Sometimes we have happy accidents in life.  Things that seem far apart can come together quickly. Yesterday I was waiting to get a haircut at my normal barber.  After about two hours one of my old buddies from high school came in.  As it so happens he had just recently moved back into the area, gotten married and is a doctor affiliated with the local university.  For the longest time our common barber had been telling each of us that we had just missed the other fellow.  It was good to see him after more years than I care to remember.
But that’s not really the point of this mini-post.  A while back one of our commenters made a tongue-in-cheek reference to when were we going to feature some black women in the ongoing Black History series.  Believe it or not my high school friend’s mother just happens to be a writer who is one of the editors/co-authors of the book “ Hands on the Freedom Plow: Personal Accounts by Women in SNCC” 
The book is a collection of interviews with and stories about the women who were a large number of the on-the-ground activists in SNCC-the people who put their jobs, well-being and lives on the line so that segregation could be defeated. They tell their stories in their own words.  As I have mentioned elsewhere it is quite easy to sell woof tickets in 2011 about how you would have done this or would have done that if you were around during the terror state dominant in much of the southern US and echoed in the North during the fifties and sixties.  But it’s always useful to hear first hand from the people who dealt with this.  How did they keep their sense of integrity and respect alive when faced with such vicious hate?  I always tip my hat to any black person born before 1950 or so because they went through some things I can’t imagine.
Anyway I can’t honestly offer this book a review because I just found out about it.  My barber has a copy now. And probably the next time I see my friend, I’ll get a copy from him.  But although I can’t review it I can say that if you are interested in what the movement was like, especially from the point of view of everyday women who participated in it, give this book a read.  I intend to do so. Or if you've already read it please feel free to share your impressions.
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