chapter  4
14 Pages

They Fought a Good Fight: SNCC and Civil Rights in Mississippi

The struggle for civil rights occurred in the public and private spheres throughout the South, but it was the prolonged conflict in Mississippi that has come to possess a mystical quality in the mind of America. This chapter analyzes the traditions of Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and understands the paradigmatic shift that occurred when SNCC took the forefront in the struggle. It provides a theoretical framework to understand the realities of life for both White and Black Mississippians. The chapter explores why Mississippi proved to be the most recalcitrant state in relinquishing long-held beliefs of Black inferiority and affording human rights to its Black citizens. It focuses on the concept of empowerment and how SNCC's philosophy of a personal form of organizing enabled Black Mississippians to fight for their rights. The chapter reviews Julius K. Nyerere's philosophy of an African-centered definition of socialism. It uses Nyerere's conceptualization of liberation for Africans in the context of liberation for Black Mississippians.