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Ron Radosh

The details are complex, but those interested can find it in the chapter “Atlantic City, 1964” in my book Divided They Fell: The Demise of the Democratic Party, 1964-1996. The reality was that the compromise included the pledge that all future Democratic conventions could not include segregated delegations from any state. It was obviously a win, so much so that even SNNC’s most revered leader, Bob Moses, first accepted the compromise until radical elements in his group threatened his leadership position. James Forman, an SNCC leader who was said to be a secret member of the American Communist Party, said that “idealistic reformers” had no choice but to become “full-time revolutionaries.”

These moderates wanted a unity of whites and blacks on behalf of a national momentum to gain blacks the right to vote in Mississippi, including federal registrars sent to Mississippi to enforce the civil rights of black voters and passage of a national Voting Rights Act by Congress. Black nationalists like Carmichael and James Forman claimed they alone “stood with the people” and those of the lowest economic classes, who wanted a real social revolution. The two men fired Joe Rauh as their counsel, and took on lawyers from a Communist front group: the National Lawyers Guild.

Rauh believed that it was “immoral to take help from Communists,” and said that the compromise was rejected because of “Communist influence … evident at the convention in Atlantic City.”

When Peniel Joseph argues that the black movement was betrayed, he is echoing the position taken by the black radicals in 1964. Dr. Joseph argues that “the white version of Freedom Summer — local and aminority politics mediated through major political parties — was inadequate.” He and the radicals in 1964 were wrong. The compromise solution would have worked, and its acceptance by the black mainstream and moderates indicated they understood that the all-white Democratic Party of the Solid South was essentially over.

By the publicity afforded the MFDP, Joe Rauh wrote to a friend, the black movement along with white trade unions and black churches had achieved a success “far beyond anything that could have been anticipated a month or two earlier.” As Rauh and others said, their coalition with white liberals led to passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965 and the decision of the Democratic Party that all-white delegations would no longer be tolerated at Democratic conventions. In attaining this, the rights of Southern blacks in Mississippi had received new legitimacy.

Rejecting the view that Freedom Summer had reached its major goals, the black Left argued that they could not “rely on their so-called allies,” and hence the entire American system had to be brought down, not just segregation. Carmichael created a new all-black party in Lowndes County in Mississippi, named the Lowndes County Freedom Organization, whose ballot symbol was the Black Panther. In the local elections, the ticket was rejected by the black population in Mississippi, who had decided the hope for change lay in the national Democratic Party purging its racists, and not in the radical MFDP. In taking this route, it should be noted that today Mississippi now has more black representatives than any state in America.

The radical path of which Prof. Peniel Joseph writes “50 years later remains Freedom Summer’s most enduring legacy” was wrong, and his conclusion reflects only his personal left-wing proclivities.

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Top Rated Comments   
I believe you're total idiot.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
The once thriving and peaceful city of my childhood was forcefully desegregated in 1972. In 2002 the school district was 99% black as all whites had fled their generational homeland for a bigger city an hour away. A city that was once the second largest in the state is now the 32nd with only pity in its future. "Progress" had come full circle in 40 years - and a once wonderful city was one of its victims.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
The discipline of history is about recording past events and attempting to place them in the context of their time. Unfortunately, people with political agendas see history as the reinventing of the past to create narratives that advance particular interests. Attributing the fracturing of the civil rights movement and the rise of separatism to the two seat compromise offered by Johnson at the 1964 Democratic convention is an example of such a rewriting of history. While it is true that many civil rights supporters became radicalized by the failure of the liberal establishment to support the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party's challenge, it does not explain the conversion of integrated civil rights organizations into essentially blacks only organizations.

In December 1965, the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) voted to expel whites from the organization. The vote was far from unanimous but it it set a new pattern for how blacks going forward would organize to advance their interests. And it had a profound impact on how race would be viewed in the future so it is important to try to understand why this happened.

The first reason was the stunning success of the civil rights movement. In a relatively short period of time the entire structure of legal segregation was dismantled, a remarkable achievement. The participation of whites in the movement was extremely helpful and in part explains how quickly the civil rights movement of the fifties and sixties ended the Jim Crow south. With the passage of the civil rights bills, white participation was no longer seen as necessary.

The civil rights movement was not basically about blacks. It was about living up to the promise of the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution that provided that all were created equal. The struggle to implement the founding ideals was in the interest of all Americans and so it was natural that whites as well as blacks were a part of that effort.

The problems facing black Americans after 1965 were quite different. Poverty and a lack of education presented challenges that could not be met by simply changing the law. The role for whites in solving these problems was a lot less clear. And as money began to pour into efforts to alleviate poverty and improve education, jobs were created as part of the effort.

Like any movement, the civil rights movement became a place where people made a living. With the necessity of cooperation between whites and blacks fading in importance, the reality of competition for the means of making a living increased in importance. Initially this affected the civil rights organizations themselves but soon expanded to include government employment of teachers, police, fire fighters, and into higher education and corporate America.

Segregation in America was not simply in the south. In a very real sense, America was two separate societies. There were parallel institutions for professionals such as doctors and lawyers, for colleges and universities, and even separate structures for sports. There was a black media with its own magazines and newspapers and blacks and whites largely prayed in separate houses of worship. With the demise of segregation, the separate world of blacks began to crumble. While this provided tremendous opportunities for blacks, it also created risks. Suddenly, blacks were competing directly with whites and for many blacks this was a source of insecurity

Starting in the late 1960s, colleges and universities began to make serious efforts to recruit black students. The more political of these students formed black student organizations that no longer included whites. And many black students tended to sit with other black students at meals and self-segregated, a pattern that to some extent still exists on college campuses.

Another area where tensions arose between blacks and whites was over white teachers in black schools. Arguments arose over whether blacks in predominantly black schools should have black teachers. Similar arguments came up over police and fire fighters. There were many facets of these arguments but these disputes were also over competition for jobs.

While the two seat compromise may have caused a rift between liberals and radicals, it had little to do with the evolution of how race is perceived in America. However, there are lessons from the dispute between the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) and the Johnson administration, that Republicans could learn from. The disputes between the Tea Party and the establishment has some important similarities. The people in the MFDP were mostly the rural poor who had been excluded from politics for their entire lives. Their world was completely separate from the politics of Washington DC. For Johnson and his allies, evicting the whites only Democrats from the convention would mean the southern states would turn Republican for generations and make it very difficult to implement a liberal age
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (24)
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My comment got attenuated. the point I wanted to make is that for the members of the MDFP, their what they perceived was that they had been deprived of the right to vote by the whites only Mississippi Democrats and the political concerns of the Johnson administration were secondary. Their reality was worlds apart from that. of national politics.

In a similar vein, the senate Republicans are concerned that if they don't regain control of the senate, they will not be able to repeal the ACA, reduce spending, or reform entitlements and have no ability to prevent the senate from confirming radical cabinet Members and federal judges. For the conservative base of the Republican Party, the main concern is that they feel overburdened by regulations taxes and they don't see Washington politicians doing anything about it. Their reality is very different from the world of the senate Republicans. Unfortunately, if the establishment Republicans cannot bridge their differences with the conservative base, the only winners will be the left wing of the Democratic Party.
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
my best friend's mother-in-law makes $83 hourly on the computer . She has been laid off for six months but last month her payment was $16801 just working on the computer for a few hours.
learn the facts here now
➊ ➨➨ ➋ ➨➨ ➌ ➨➨ WWW.FOX87.COM
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
So what, Ron? Go study some more chicken entrails. Irrelevant.
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
As Churchill once said of Ghandi, "He was lucky in his choice of enemies."
No African Country would let anyone give a speech calling for violent overthrow of their government. They would be rounded up and killed.
Even in most civilized countries, there would be arrests and questioning, and law enforcement would keep a keen eye on them, perhaps imprison them or deport them.
But we elect Ostupid President, instead.
Idiots.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
So...if blacks felt they were betrayed by the Democratic Party in the 60s, why did they continue to vote Democrat?

Apparently, the Democrats didn't betray blacks that much.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Cash (pork) heals a multitude of wounds.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
" it should be noted that today Mississippi now has more black representatives than any state in America." And this is a good thing? Black/white is meaningless. Brains/morals/fortitude/vision is meaningful.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Does Joseph address Carmicheal's statement that "the only position of women in the SNCC is prone"?
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
The once thriving and peaceful city of my childhood was forcefully desegregated in 1972. In 2002 the school district was 99% black as all whites had fled their generational homeland for a bigger city an hour away. A city that was once the second largest in the state is now the 32nd with only pity in its future. "Progress" had come full circle in 40 years - and a once wonderful city was one of its victims.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
That fact has to prove something. Unfortunately it is not a sign of a superior intelligence.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Do you mean, "What if they really are just that stupid and criminal?"
Me, too.
But, how dare we say that?
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
The discipline of history is about recording past events and attempting to place them in the context of their time. Unfortunately, people with political agendas see history as the reinventing of the past to create narratives that advance particular interests. Attributing the fracturing of the civil rights movement and the rise of separatism to the two seat compromise offered by Johnson at the 1964 Democratic convention is an example of such a rewriting of history. While it is true that many civil rights supporters became radicalized by the failure of the liberal establishment to support the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party's challenge, it does not explain the conversion of integrated civil rights organizations into essentially blacks only organizations.

In December 1965, the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) voted to expel whites from the organization. The vote was far from unanimous but it it set a new pattern for how blacks going forward would organize to advance their interests. And it had a profound impact on how race would be viewed in the future so it is important to try to understand why this happened.

The first reason was the stunning success of the civil rights movement. In a relatively short period of time the entire structure of legal segregation was dismantled, a remarkable achievement. The participation of whites in the movement was extremely helpful and in part explains how quickly the civil rights movement of the fifties and sixties ended the Jim Crow south. With the passage of the civil rights bills, white participation was no longer seen as necessary.

The civil rights movement was not basically about blacks. It was about living up to the promise of the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution that provided that all were created equal. The struggle to implement the founding ideals was in the interest of all Americans and so it was natural that whites as well as blacks were a part of that effort.

The problems facing black Americans after 1965 were quite different. Poverty and a lack of education presented challenges that could not be met by simply changing the law. The role for whites in solving these problems was a lot less clear. And as money began to pour into efforts to alleviate poverty and improve education, jobs were created as part of the effort.

Like any movement, the civil rights movement became a place where people made a living. With the necessity of cooperation between whites and blacks fading in importance, the reality of competition for the means of making a living increased in importance. Initially this affected the civil rights organizations themselves but soon expanded to include government employment of teachers, police, fire fighters, and into higher education and corporate America.

Segregation in America was not simply in the south. In a very real sense, America was two separate societies. There were parallel institutions for professionals such as doctors and lawyers, for colleges and universities, and even separate structures for sports. There was a black media with its own magazines and newspapers and blacks and whites largely prayed in separate houses of worship. With the demise of segregation, the separate world of blacks began to crumble. While this provided tremendous opportunities for blacks, it also created risks. Suddenly, blacks were competing directly with whites and for many blacks this was a source of insecurity

Starting in the late 1960s, colleges and universities began to make serious efforts to recruit black students. The more political of these students formed black student organizations that no longer included whites. And many black students tended to sit with other black students at meals and self-segregated, a pattern that to some extent still exists on college campuses.

Another area where tensions arose between blacks and whites was over white teachers in black schools. Arguments arose over whether blacks in predominantly black schools should have black teachers. Similar arguments came up over police and fire fighters. There were many facets of these arguments but these disputes were also over competition for jobs.

While the two seat compromise may have caused a rift between liberals and radicals, it had little to do with the evolution of how race is perceived in America. However, there are lessons from the dispute between the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) and the Johnson administration, that Republicans could learn from. The disputes between the Tea Party and the establishment has some important similarities. The people in the MFDP were mostly the rural poor who had been excluded from politics for their entire lives. Their world was completely separate from the politics of Washington DC. For Johnson and his allies, evicting the whites only Democrats from the convention would mean the southern states would turn Republican for generations and make it very difficult to implement a liberal age
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Thanks for a truly excellent and insightful comment
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Victor Davis Hanson is an anti-Catholic bigot but I can still read him and appreciate his commentary. I believe Mr. Radosh is in the same camp as Hanson.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
I believe you're total idiot.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
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