Moses Moon Civil Rights Recordings 1963-1964: Washington, DC; late 1963(OTN23_01)

Web Video Text Tracks Format (WebVTT)


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[[high pitched frequency]]

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I'll tell you about a song we have they call it "They laid Medgar Evers in his grave" but really its a-its a tribute to all the dead who've fought for freedom in any kind of way. You know we have to think about the President Medgar Evers, Herbert Lee and all these people who've died for the cause of freedom.
[SILENCE] [[singing]] In Jackson Mississippi, in 1963 there lived a man who was brave. He fought for freedom all of his life. But they laid Medgar Evers in his grave. They laid Medgar Evers in his grave, they laid Medgar Evers in his grave. He fought for freedom

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[[singing]] Speaker 1: All of his life, they laid Medgar Evers in his grave. He spoke words of truth, [[??]], black and white light for to say. There are 8 field white men named [[??]]. Laid Medgar Evers in his grave. He laid Medgar Evers in his grave. He laid Medgar Evers in his grave. There are 8 field white men named [[?]] Laid Medgar Evers in his grave. He taught words of love. Did let he have the freedom. He died before he be a slave. Then [[?]] tore out his heart and laid Medgar-- Speaker 2: It's Evan, made him sound like a Russian. Heaven, from heaven, Jim Foremen calls him Erwin--

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Speaker 2: Rhymes with bourbon, just like, I need a pick. How about y'all, feel like singing? Why don't y'all stand and sing "We Shall Overcome". Alright excuse me, we'll save if for the end. How about I sing a song for all the of ya [[cross talk]] okay, "Ballad of Sittings". This song was written way back when sittings first began, back shortly after Nashville. Think it took about a year for 5,000 students to go to jail. I read that in 3 months after Birmingham over 12,000 people went to jail just. You know your mathematics that means the movement's at least 12 times as fast now. [[singing]] I was 1960 the place the U.S.A, that February 1st became a history making day. Greens for all cross the land news spread far and wide. Gladly and bravely, youth took a giant stride. From Mobile Alabama to Nashville Tennessee, from Denver Colorado to Washington D.C, there rose a cry for freedom for human liberty. Come along my brother and take a seat with me. He'd call Americans along, side by equal side, brother's sit in dignity, sisters sit in pride. This is a land we cherish, a land of liberty, how can Americans deny how many quality. Our Constitution says you can, and Christians you should know. Jesus died unmourned for all mankind to know -how 'bout y'all help me out?- He'd call Americans on, side by equal side, brothers sit in dignity, sisters sit in pride. Time has come to prove our faith in all mans dignity, we've served a cause of justice of all humanity. There's soldiers in the army with Martin Luther King. Peace and love are weapons not violence or greed. He'd call Americans on, side by equal side, brothers sit in dignity, sisters sit in pride. Oh mobs of violence and hate shall turn me from our goal the Jim Crow law in our poly-state shall stop my free bound soul 5,000 students bound in jail still lift their heads and sing, they'll travel on to freedom like song birds on wing. He'd call Americans on, side by equal side, brothers sit in dignity, sisters sit in pride.

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[[singing]] If you miss me from the back of the bus, and you can´t find me nowhere yeah,

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come on up to the front of the bus I´ll be riding up there, (let me hear it)

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I´ll be riding up there, I´ll be riding up there yeah, come on up to the front of the bus I´ll be riding up there,

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and if you miss me from the thrifty drug store, you can´t find me nowhere yeah, come on over to Woolworth´s I´ll be sitting in there

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yes, I´ll be sitting in there (let me hear it) I´ll be sitting in there yeah, come on over to Woolworth´s I´ll be sitting in there,

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and If you miss me from the cotton field you can´t find me nowhere, come on down to the city hall, I´ll be registered there yes

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I´ll be registered there I´ll be registered there yeah, come on down to the city hall, I´ll be registered there,

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If you miss me from the picket line you can´t find me nowhere, (City jail)come on down to the city jail, I´ll be sleeping down there, yes I´ll be sleeping down there, I´ll be sleeping down there

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Yes, come on down to the city jail I´ll be sleeping down there,

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And If you miss me from the Mississippi River you can´t find me nowhere, Come on down to the swimming pool, I´ll be swimming down there yes,

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I´ll be swimming down there, I´ll be swimming down there yes, come on down to the swimming pool, I´ll be swimming down there,

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If you miss me from the front of the bus, you can´t find me nowhere, (come on back)come on back to the back of the bus I´ll be riding back there, (that's you, some of us)

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I´ll be riding back there, I´ll be riding back there yes, come on back to the back of the bus, I´ll be riding back there,

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That's where all of us with a lighter skin complexion.

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I've been doin' some hard travelin' I thought you'd know I've been doin' some hard travelin' way down the road

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Well if you and-- don't think that I've been through hell, follow me down to the Greenwood jail. I've been having some hard travels alone

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Well I've been walking the sreets of rule ville, I thought you'd know. I've been walking the streets of rule ville, way down the road. Knockin' on doors and spreading news and wearing big holes in the bottom of my shoes and I've been having some hard travels alone.

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Yes, I've been living at hard rock jail, I thought you'd know. I've been landing a hard rock jail, way down the road. That mean old judge he says to me, "ninety days for vacancy", And I've been having some hard travels alone.

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Yes, I've been walkin' the streets of Greenwood, I thought you'd know I've been walking the streets of Greenwood, way down the road. There were guns blasting, and bullets a flyin' poor Jimmy Travis damn near dyin' He's been havin' some hard travels alone

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Yes, I've been having some hard travelling, I thought you'd know. I've been having some hard travelling, way down the road. Freedom sounds so mighty sweet Soon one day we're gonna meet I've been having some hard travels alone.

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NOT John Lewis: Two announcements - one, Charles Surratt would like for all persons from Southwest Georgia Project, or from Southwest Georgia, please meet at the back of the chapel after the conference ends, and also there's a phone call downstairs for Bill Raspberry, if he's here, Bill Raspberry. At this time we are near the end of this conference. I think that we've had a wonderful conference. For those who have been around SNCC for a long time, we can see this. As you know, the 1960 in Raleigh, North Carolina — that's when people got together — and formed what is now known as the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. We like to talk about this history because we like you to know about this history, not that we are boasting, not that we are happy and proud, I mean as such, we come this far, but we like for people to know where we came from and where we are going. It was in 1960 that a few people got together and formed this group, and those people that in that time can remember a one-room office in Atlanta, a 197 1/2 that didn't have any windows, a little cubicle. I can also remember a big barn further down the street in Atlanta, which didn't have any heat at times, which was huge. I also can remember now in Atlanta at 6 Raymond, 8 1/2 Raymond, the office we have now. I can also remember coming from one paid field secretary, [[inaudible]] King, and one volunteer,James [[inaudible]] Firs to now some 150 to 250 field secretaries. I can also remember the first conference in Raleigh, and the subsequent conferences and the conference here. Which means that in three years, we have come a long ways. We still have a long ways to go. But I'm saying all this to put this into proper perspective, to introduce, not really to introduce, but before John Lewis speaks that he is our chairman. He has been with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee from its beginning.

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Marion Barry- Possibly: We like to think of him as our leader. As such, although we have no leaders, he is our chairman. And he will make the final remarks to the conference: John Lewis.

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John Lewis: Thank you, Marion, Portland.

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John Lewis: I'd like to suggest a few things to close for this conference.

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John Lewis: Not by any means or to make a speech. Just going to say a few words here and there. Particular there to the southern students and to the people from the deep, deep south.

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John Lewis: Approximately 400 of you have gathered here this weekend to examine a study [[??]] program in the area [[of man in povert?]] retraining and job location-relocation.

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John Lewis: It is my hope that we and all of us have a better knowledge and a better understanding of these programs. I think this conference put up to fight that all of us, wherever we are involved must continue to raise some basic questions and problems that we cannot solve or answer.

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John Lewis: During the march on Washington, I didn't have an opportunity to say something that I was trying to say.

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John Lewis: But since today I don't think we have the archbishop around, a few other people-

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John Lewis: A few other people who might like to control or pocket the revolution. I think I should feel free to say a few things.

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John Lewis: Along the way we have been saying for a long time that we are involved in a revolution.

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John Lewis: I'm not sure whether we are involved or not.

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John Lewis: I tried to suggest on Thursday, not Thursday but on Friday, we are on the threshold of this revolution.

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John Lewis: We are laying the ground work for this revolution.

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John Lewis: What I tried to say in a way of symbols, on August 28th that the time might come, and I'm very serious about this,

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John Lewis: that we might not confine our margin in the form of a mass get together on Washington.

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John Lewis: But we might just be forced to march through the South, through the heart of Dixie, the way Sherman did.

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John Lewis: I think we should pursue our own...scorched earth policy

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John Lewis: and burn Jim Crowe to the ground in a non-violent fashion.

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John Lewis: We shall fragment the South into a thousand pieces

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John Lewis: and put them back together in an image of democracy.

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John Lewis: I think we have something of an obligation to do no less.

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John Lewis: In the upper South, if you want to call it the so-called progressive South,

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John Lewis: I think all of us, all of the students and young people from the upper South of this so-called liberal image.

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John Lewis: Cities like Atlanta, cities like Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga,

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John Lewis: cities throughout the state of North Carolina.

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John Lewis: We must somehow once again get into the streets and stay into the streets until the sagging walls of segregation come crumbling down.

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John Lewis: I think we must do this.

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John Lewis: But in the deeper South. In the blight dust areas of Alabama,

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John Lewis: in the Delta or Mississippi, in Southwest Georgia, and Eastern Arkansas

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John Lewis: we must continue a policy of political agitation, of voter registration;

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John Lewis: for in these areas, this is direct action.

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For all of us, this movement must become a people's movement, and not a leader's movement.'applause'

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We must create, over and over again sources and pockets of power who often saw throughout the nation, where the masses can say, and not a leader, "I want to be free" , "I wan't a job", "I want food". The people all say this. I think we must give serious consideration to some other suggestion or Rustin, lonely lion of political and economic...

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For all of this must become, I think, in our action. We must somehow or someway create both a political and economic base, in order to move, so our voices can be heard. But if the movement is to continue to be one of nonviolent discipline, and I know within SNCC and within organizations, some other organizations, serious consideration about nonviolence, people are talkin' about it, we are sending masses of restless and they are desperate.

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But I had a feeling that if this movement that we are involved in is to continue, to be one of nonviolent discipline, then we must become radical enough to present a positive program of action that will meet the denee- the needs, the desires, the aspiration of an oppressed people. 'applause'

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For so long, we have been playing movement, playing a revolution...

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We all must recognize the fight. If any basic changes are to take place now we the people, the masses must rise up and bring these changes about. We cannot depend on SNCC or President Johnson to do it and not congress. We must help them to do it.

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We are to see an open society, an open nation, and the people within SNCC. Students across this country must be willing to use that influence, that power, and must not get afraid from someone writing life as SNCC is becoming subversive, we know. Talking about agents, we are the agent.

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{CLAPPING} Talking about a put. They talking about a put, lets get involved in a nonviolent put in Mississippi.

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{CLAPPING} I think we have that obligation to do that and do no less and the day would soon come and freedom, justice, and equality will exist for all of the people and not just for some of the people. As many of us leave this place today and go back south, some of us- I hope most of us will begin together here and there.

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And at last for this month,[[inaudible]] committee, the secretary committee will be meeting. No doubt we will be meeting in Atlanta. {PAUSE}

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And we hope to make some basic decisions. And we will be appealing to students, people from all over this nation, to help us to carry out SNCC programs. I agree with [[inaudible]] that the civil rights struggle, the civil rights revolution is at a very crucial and critical point.

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People are so willing to be loyal to party, political party, into the course of human rights. And I think we as students, we who represent, in a sense we like to say the masses, we must not sell out. We must stand up and stand for what is right, and that is just going to have all of the people and not a select few.

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When we go back South, I think we should go over a f-, a new determination to see our dreams, like someone would like to call it, our dreams- if you want to call them dreams- come true.

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The people in Mississippi, the people in Alabama, in Georgia are no longer listening to our dreams. We have been promised, our people, for so long, "pie in the sky," you know? But you'll get it, we've been [inaudible] in the moon. We've been able to produce very little.

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I'm not sure myself how long will these people be willing to follow non-violent discipline. So again I'd like to stress the fight. That the movement must become radical enough to meet the demands, the needs, and aspirations of these people.

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I think in a real sense, we must speak to the whole nation. In particular, negro and white students from the north should go into the black areas of the north I think. Maybe [unintelligible] group should give some consideration to this. Go into Harlem, go into the ghettos of Harlem. Go into the ghettos of Chicago and Detroit, and organize some mass movement similar to what we have in the South.

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And let's get a nationwide, a real nationwide mass movement going. So this whole nation can see it, in a real sense, that we want freedom, we want justice and complete equality now, and not tomorrow. [APPLAUSE]

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This time, I'd like to say thanks to all of you who made this conference possible. I believe I saw Chuck [unintelligible], did I see Chuck?

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{APPLAUSE} Come in, Chuck, our past Chairman.

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Three, the first chairman of SNCC Marion is here. Chuck, the second chairman is here, and I think this is an indication that people within this movement, not an organization, are serious about what they're doing. They're ready to stay with it until it is complete. {APPLAUSE}

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As this point we'll ask guide to come back again, to lead us in a song, that all of us have sung, all of us have heard, "We Shall Overcome" , this will be the end of the conference. We hope that everyone here has gotten a great deal out of the conference.

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Hm? [Unintelligible Whispering]

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Ask him to come up here? [Talking To Someone]

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[Unintelligible] McDew,uh John would like to see you up here. Chuck, will you come up here?

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{APPLAUSE} Charles McDew, second chairman of SNCC.

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The Atlanta bus will be leaving at five, for those people who are going back to Atlanta. The bus will be leaving at five.

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Are they any other announcements before we leave? Any other announcements. Yeah?

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[Unintelligible] Dinkie? Uh--there she is coming down the front.

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Charles McDew, our second chairman. [[applause]]

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Charles McDew: I don't really have too terribly much to say, very much to say, uh--

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An observation, uh, that was made yesterday, uh, when we first came in, I was talking with Lonnie King,

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and many of you don't know who Lonnie is, Lonnie used to be the head of the Atlanta Movement, uh, and

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Ed came was here- Ed was the first executive secretary, Ed was here for a day, and then we were saying Julian, Julian was still here, [00:33:9] and we were sorta mentioning how, uh, it felt sort of strange that we saw so many people

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that we didn't really know, it was strange and very, very good, we had Thanksgiving dinner up in

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Chicago the other day, um, living in Chicago now, and Curtis Hayes, who was on the

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Mississippi staff was living there, and Dion Diamond, uh, is living in Madison, and Dion and Curtis were over to my house,

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and we had sort of an old folks Thanksgiving dinner, uh, old folks in that it feels sort of aged, lookin round at you youngin's.

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[[laughter]] And remembering when, you know, when we could look at the days, the day that is here there's air travel, cars, wide-area telephone service

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an organization that can get out material overnight, and think back to when we were in one room and there was a person in the office, a person hustling money, and we had two Field Secretaries.

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And you know, in the words of the lord, "we had a dream" [[applause]], and the dream as far we can see it has borne fruit,

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you know, and it has borne fruit in you all. 'Cause a lot of you don't know, although you holler, heard a guy snatch a foreman last night, you know and was yelling about 'I didn't get that 200 dollars over yesterday for a bus in Mississippi.'

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And we could remember the times when to raise 200 dollars in a week was just fantastic, because this meant that the staff could go on and you could work for another 2 months, you know.

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And, uh, you know this Thanksgiving, we were particularly thankful that when we came here we knew that the new blood would be here.

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We knew that the new people would be here, we knew that those who were prepared to rededicate themselves to the struggle,

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those who were prepared to come into the struggle for the first time and find their places in the struggle and help,

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you know, the dream that we all have of a better society, of a better world, of a better time, not only for our kids and our younger brothers and sisters, but for us and our parents and the people that we hold dear.

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You know, that these people were here, and these people were preparing, you know, to carry on the work that was started under such meager circumstances, you know.

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And before I close -- there was -- I always remember when we made the decision to drop out of school,

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a few of us, Shirad, Charlie Jones, myself, uh, you know, and Diane. Um, we made the decision to drop out of school and to start working. Before that we had this, a, long discussion, uh of whether or not we should do it.  

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We said that the thing that would have to be done was that people would have to go in living communities and working communities and-- and-- and help the people in these communities grow. And-- and build movements.

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Y'know we said the people that would have to do it would have to be students-- would have to be young people. Y'know, because we don't have the-- the um-- ties to the establishment that many older folk do have.

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And then after we agreed that young people should do it then we said "Who should do it?" we saw looking around the room, one, to each other, y'know I looked over it-- it-- rest of the guys said "Well you know baby I wanna go but I have to finish school y'know-- can't be messing around there."

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And then there were those who wanted to go on to church work. And those who wanted do to this and wanted to do that.

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And so we said, y'know, we all had a reason. We agreed that we were all intellectually committed to the struggle.

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Y'know, that we stood in spiritual and moral solidarity. Y'know we had a grand academic understanding of the problem and the ultimate solution to it.

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Y'know, and, so we said we might as well go. And then somebody said in the group, "Well, y'know that's groovy--the intellectual commitment and all that sort of thing, but where is your body? Y'know, Where is your body?

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Y'know, if your body is going to be with intellectual commitment, and that's somewhere off over there, y'know then we don't need.

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If your body is going to be with your spiritual solidarity, and that's somewhere over there, then we don't need it.

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If your body is going to be with your traditional and academic understanding, then we don't need it.

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But if your body is going to be here, and we're going to have our bodies here, our collective bodies here in the struggle, and together, then that's where it should be, y'know?

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And that's the only way that it can be done. And this is the grand evidence that the bodies are here, y'know?

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From the first conference in Raleigh, in 1960, where the people came together, y'know, it was, y'know, we were fragmented. We didn't know where we'd gone.

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We didn't have a grand sense of feeling, of togetherness, y'know. The only thing we had together we had all been active in the movement.

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But we had no direction. And direction is here, y'know. And we do know where we're going. And the body's, um, y'know, seemingly and obviously quite committed.

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And this is what needs to be done, y'know. There will be those of you who will be going back to school, and of course you have an obligation to see in what small way, rather, in what large way you can help grow.

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What way you can help more bodies come in. What way you can see that the struggle goes on. And then, y'know, and to John, y'know saw the pleasure that y'know we were up there in Chicago, and then New York, and then San Francisco and the ghettos of this country.

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We haven't forgotten that that there is a struggle, and the struggle is a part of us all.

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Um, and of course we'll continue working, and as we work--as we work--it should be pointed out, and clearly understood, it should not be done, hasn't been thus far and should never be on the basis of we're trying to commit, y'know, build a black society.

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There was a notice a few weeks ago, I guess, that spoiler [[??]] Julian made about in the jet, after the big all-black meeting in Detroit--uh, saying that, uh SNCC pointed out that they were trying to build an integrated society where every man would have a chance to develop his potential.

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And something about--and when he came with reference to white people in the organization, there was a statement about "We're too busy merging to consider purging". That sounds like Forman to me. [[Laughter]]

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But uh, y'know, ultimately if you merge them, that's alright, come on in the water's fine.

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Uh, and so, y'know, I really don't know what to say, um, very much, because y'know I've just been, hung up 'bout the whole thing, y'know, all of you here, y'know, 50 people from Mississippi. You see buses rolling in, and you see, y'know, little SNCC bureaucrats with tickets, handing them out--the plane tickets and all that sorta thing. And uh--

00:41:01.000 --> 00:41:22.000
how it just sort of beats, y'know, remembering we once had one car. And that was a thing that was sort of promoted for a while, that we--you know, I'm no longer draftable. I can't be drafted. That's only because I'm married now. Groovy exemption.

00:41:22.000 --> 00:41:43.000
But we'd made the decision that we wouldn't fight anyhow, because, it's been said many times--we who had fought, we who had spilled our blood for so many years in a grand attempt to make the world safe for America should fight now, and only fight, that we make democracy safe for America, rather.

00:41:43.000 --> 00:42:16.000
We should fight now, and only fight--not to make the world safe for democracy, but to make democracy safe for the world. This is our battle. This is what we should be doing--today, tomorrow and always. [[clapping]]

00:42:16.000 --> 00:42:23.970
Could we stand? Everybody stand. [[talking in background]] Everybody stand, we're going to sing--

00:42:46.000 --> 00:42:57.000
Some of you may like to know this song "We Shall Overcome" which we've been singing since the first gathering in Raleigh, has a long history to it, goes back over 100 years.

00:42:57.000 --> 00:43:07.000
The old days the hymn verses said, " This world is one great battlefield with forces all arrayed, but with his word a sword of mind I'll overcome someday."

00:43:07.000 --> 00:43:08.000
John Lewis: Wow

00:43:08.000 --> 00:43:15.000
The oldtimers still today on the sea island you can hear the old-time people, people who say they've been chewing dry bones and swallowing bitter pills.

00:43:15.000 --> 00:43:17.000
John Lewis: Talk about pills

00:43:17.000 --> 00:43:31.000
They sing this song I'll be alright someday, I'll be like him, and when they hear all these new words come in we are not afraid, hear the way it's sung by all the young people and they come out there to get new lives, they feel like shouting so all over again.

00:43:31.000 --> 00:43:46.000
When we first sang it in Raleigh 4 years ago, the tune was sort of watered down, but as the song began to creep down into all Albany and Mississippi it's taken on a lot new twists and turns, new verses.

00:43:46.000 --> 00:44:11.000
It's so great to see the new singers and all its new blood. I've, I'm going to let, ask Virginia, why don't you come up here and lead the song, if you just wanted a new singers, they keep turning up every place, everywhere, Amanda come on so girls from -----

00:44:11.000 --> 00:44:42.000
We shall overcome, my lord, we shall overcome, we shall overcome, someday.

00:44:42.000 --> 00:45:04.000
Deep in my heart, I do believe, oh, we shall overcome someday.

00:45:04.000 --> 00:45:06.000
God is on our side.

00:45:06.000 --> 00:45:33.000
God is on our side, all is on our side, all is on our side today, oh.

00:45:33.000 --> 00:45:55.000
Deep in my heart, I do believe, oh, we shall overcome, someday.

00:45:55.000 --> 00:45:57.000
We are not afraid.

00:45:57.000 --> 00:46:25.000
We are not afraid, oh lord, we are not afraid, oh goodness, we are not afraid today, oh.

00:46:25.000 --> 00:46:44.390
Deep in my heart, I do believe, oh, we shall overcome someday.

00:47:05.000 --> 00:47:14.000
[[Choir humming]]

00:47:14.000 --> 00:48:11.016
Charles McDew: May we have strength, courage, a new sense of hope,oh from this place. And create an open society where all people - both Black and White - can rise beyond their circumstances and live like brothers and sisters in a great big war family. And may peace, truth, and justice ring. [[Choir Singing]] Oh here in my heart -- [ ]