I've Got the Light of Freedom: The Organizing Tradition and the Mississippi Freedom Struggle, With a New Preface

I ve Got the Light of Freedom The Organizing Tradition and the Mississippi Freedom Struggle With a New Preface This momentous work offers a groundbreaking history of the early civil rights movement in the South with new material that situates the book in the context of subsequent movement literature

  • Title: I've Got the Light of Freedom: The Organizing Tradition and the Mississippi Freedom Struggle, With a New Preface
  • Author: Charles M. Payne
  • ISBN: 9780520251762
  • Page: 384
  • Format: Paperback
  • This momentous work offers a groundbreaking history of the early civil rights movement in the South with new material that situates the book in the context of subsequent movement literature.

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      Posted by:Charles M. Payne
      Published :2019-01-11T10:26:24+00:00

    About "Charles M. Payne"

    1. Charles M. Payne

      Charles M Payne is the Frank P Hixon Distinguished Service Professor in the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago, where he is also an affiliate of the Urban Education Institute.

    701 thoughts on “I've Got the Light of Freedom: The Organizing Tradition and the Mississippi Freedom Struggle, With a New Preface”

    1. "In the minds of untold numbers of Americans, for example, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr was the civil rights movement. Thought it up, led it, produced its victories, became its sole martyr. Schoolchildren- including Black schoolchildren- are taught this."-Fred PowledgeCharles Payne's 'I've Got the Light of Freedom' reconstructs a history that holds a more accurate depiction of the African-American Civil Rights Movement. He devotes his book to the working class people who were mostly re [...]


    2. Page 273 (my book)Residents of the Delta may have seen the civil rights movement as a sign that God was stirring.Page 124For SNCC [Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee], the Kennedy administration increasingly came to symbolize a callous and cynical preference for political expediency over law and common decency. At Herbert Lee’s funeral, his wife came up to Bob Moses and Chuck McDew [both of SNCC] and shouted at them “You killed my husband! You killed my husband!” She was saying wha [...]


    3. A friend recommended this to me and she was right: it's a really important work of oral history and a history of civil rights organizing, among groups like SNCC, COFO during the 1960s, and the NAACP in the 1950s. What was so stark to me, was that a simple, and non-radical idea, the idea of people being able to cast votes for whom they wanted to represent them, was held as such a radical and destructive idea by the white south (and north, for that matter). Payne did extensive work to uncover the [...]


    4. This is an excellent book. It focuses is on the community organizing tradition – as opposed to the more high profile community mobilization tradition of King and others – and its importance to the civil rights movement. It's centered around Greenwood, Mississippi and the role that SNCC (though others such as CORE, SCLC, and the NAACP) played, in the face of repression (both violent and not) from whites and what was at first reluctance from black locals (though many SNCC organizers were South [...]


    5. To my mind, one of the best books in the enormous field of civil rights history. It has the unfortunate, distinct "gender" chapter. But Payne's primary research, historiographical framework, and final chapter, "The Rough Draft of History," on media and the narrativizing of the Movement, make this a stellar book.


    6. Useful and detailed descriptions of the organizing model developed through experimentation, especially in Greenwood. Thought that some of the later chapters on the dissolution of SNCC could have benefited from a clearer "who benefits" analysis rather than generalizations about "community." Thanks Virginia for the recommendation!


    7. Civil Rights History, if it's true to its calling, is poignant and eerie, recalling a time in our nation's history that was, in many ways, incredibly subtle, nuanced and haunting. History, by its very nature, is contextual, a product of a unique space and time, all with its own peculiar dynamics. Charles Payne's book may well go down as the most sensitive, honest, sagacious, complex and comprehensive analysis of the Movement period that has ever been written. Payne manages to pull all of this of [...]


    8. In light of the NAACP's 100th anniversary, I thought it was important to write a quick review of this important book, which in essence describes the decades of work by NAACP and other civil rights organizations in setting the foundation for the Mississippi Freedom Movement. That movement animated so many people's courage and animus: dispossessed sharecroppers in the Delta region fearful an attempt to vote would threaten their livelihood; college kids from white suburbia set upon contributing to [...]


    9. my favorite part of this book is its reliance on primary source material and its willingness to include it in the text. it's really quite brilliant and points out a lot of ways that the civil rights movement of the 60s was more than what we know of from our basic history classes. there's also the element of incorporating what the movement meant to people that you don't necessarily think of - union workers, etc. it's grand in its ambition and scope, and i'm happy to say, it's basically successful [...]




    10. Thorough, compelling, amazing account of grassroots organizing in Mississippi. Starts in the 1940s and carries through well after the 1960s upsurge. Just great.


    11. I cant even articulate how much this book means to me. As a young organizer, it helped shape and develop me more than any training or workshop ever has or will!


    12. Payne seeks to illustrate the slow build organizing style of the Mississippi Freedom movement over the course of nearly thirty years that altered the racial power relations of Mississippi. Payne argued that it make its most headway in the early 1960s as the organizers built upon earlier traditions of activism that challenged the racial regime of terror and order. Beginning with descriptions of lynchings of the 1930s, he notes that public executions of black people in Mississippi began to change [...]


    13. Wow! So fantastic to read a detailed, bottom-up analysis of the civil rights movement from the 1950s through early 1960s in Mississippi. I particularly loved reading about Ella Baker’s organizing style, and comparing that to work I’ve been involved with or witnessed. She’s awesome, and I aspire to do more to follow her tradition. I also hope to read more about her specifically. More generally, reading this book made me realize how little I knew about the civil rights movement. The discussi [...]


    14. Wow, this book blew me away. The most grounded and detailed look at civil rights organizing in the south I've ever read. The majority of Payne's book is dedicated to laying out what he calls SNCC's "Community Organizing Tradition." Unlike so many academics who write about community organizing in purely theoretical terms, Payne gives detailed, on-the-ground accounts of SNCC's voter registration drives in several rural towns – most importantly, Greenwood, Mississippi. He chronicles the day-to-da [...]


    15. Payne, Charles M I?ve Got the Light of Freedom: The Organizing Tradition and the Mississippi Freedom Struggle, Berkeley, California: University of California Press, 1995, pp. 525 (with notes, index, and bibliographic essay). In I?ve Got the Light of Freedom, Charles M. Payne scrutinizes the Black freedom struggle in Mississippi in the early 1960s. Payne places the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) at the center of his examination of activities in of the struggle in Mississippi. SN [...]


    16. I've Got the Light of Freedom is a book about organizing, for organizers. It chronicles SNCC and the Mississippi Freedom movement from its beginnings to ends, especially highlighting the individual organizers and families that put the movement together and sustained it. The book is great because it analyzes the movement from a variety of perspectives, including understanding the strategies, tactics, gender dynamics, white/black organizing dynamics, local/rural dynamics, mentorship and leadership [...]


    17. This book helped me understand that my ideas about a slow, movement-building approach to organizing, and the best of what I learned from my activist mentors in my 20s, is not just a valid way of doing activism, it's really the smartest way in the long run. I had always felt uneasy about the way so many groups these days are focused on how to most quickly get to "winnable goals" while compromising their relationships with people in the communities directly affected by the issues they're working o [...]


    18. This is an extraordinary book - although probably not everyone's cup of tea. It's about the Civil Rights movement and the rise and fall of SNCC in Mississippi. But it's about so much more than that. Rather than highlighting the 'famous' people, it showcases the amazing black Mississippians who had the courage to go to register to vote time after time knowing they risked getting beaten and worse. The book begins in the forties and introduces us to the people in the South - many of whom where retu [...]


    19. one of the best, most detailed books regarding the civil rights movement as told from activists young and old who've we never even heard of. Payne focuses on Mississippi, mostly in the rural delta town of Greenwood and tells the history from their perspective, that is, from the bottom up. the story gets a little sad toward the end, as most history stories go, when the spirit fades and the times change into something new, when this happens we begin to feel nostalgic for how things were. In readin [...]


    20. "I've Got the Light of Freedom" by Charles M. Payne is a masterpiece. It is an in-depth, exhaustively researched portrait of the Mississippi Freedom Movement. It explores individual people and their roles in organizing and uniting their communities. Most chapters look at a specific concept that is coupled with stories of actual people and the organizations they participated in. The book focuses on Student Nonviolent Coordinating Council, COFO, the Freedom Democratic Party, the Child Development [...]


    21. I've learned more from this book on organizing & building power than from any other. I look to it for inspiration when I'm feeling discouraged and for lessons when I'm out of ideas. The most incredible part about this book is that it starts decades before the civil rights movement as we know it began - showing how the groundwork was laid for a powerful social movement years and years before SNCC came into Mississippi. Must read for anyone doing basebuilding / community organizing work.


    22. Brilliantly written. Such a fantastic book. It is exactly the book that I want to use to teach the Civil Rights Movement, and also far too long to assign in an undergraduate class as a whole book. Encourages readers and students to think about the CRM in terms of the organizing tradition that developed the capacities of everyday people, instead of the mobilizing tradition that relied on the speeches of powerful men.


    23. Not only fabulous historically, but this is a history most Americans sorely need to read. While documenting the best of human nature as embodied by the people in the movement, it reminds us of our fallibility as well and the necessity to live beloved community every day while striving for its existence universally. Progressive movements will not get anywhere if we do not build trust and understanding amongst ourselves.


    24. Wish I had read this when I was 15! A harrowing and enlightening history on the generations of "ordinary, flawed, everyday" people who made the freedom movement possible. Complex, penetrating analysis and riveting storytelling. It is especially noteworthy for its recognition of the central role women played in the struggle.


    25. The Civil Rights Movement was not all about churches, MLKjr, and the occasional white martyr. Learn about the community organizing tradition that the above listed people inherited. There were a lot more women and working class people involved than you might believe. Lots of oral histories and testimonies. Easy to read and thoughtful.


    26. I read parts of this book as an undergrad and was inspired by the work of SNCC and Ella Baker's organizing during the CRM.Now, I'm using it to teach about social movements and community initiatives, and am still as inspired.A great read when you're thinking about how to bring about change - really reminding us that it's possible!


    27. This is a wonderful book, filled with moving oral histories and stories from a wide range of African American civil rights activists in Mississippi. Payne interweaves these primary sources with a most illuminating analysis. This book profoundly changed my understanding of the Civil Rights Movement. It's long, but well worth the read!


    28. Although it can read like a laundry list at times, this book is an excellent introduction to the Civil Rights movement in general, and Mississippi's unique role in it, in particular.The story is one of declention. By the time one gets to the end, the thought of a revolution for rights seems like a pathetic and idiotic dream.


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