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Extra resources for Many Minds, One Heart: SNCC's Dream for a New America
At the conference, where young and not always sophisticated egos banged up against each other, Ella Baker’s poise and experience helped bridge everyone over the shoals. It is also where the Nashville group moved to the forefront. In May, participants at a second SNCC meeting worked on a statement of purpose. The task became the first challenge for the Nashville students faced with exporting their experience to the emerging movement. To get their ideas across to others who had not shared the workshops and conversations that predated the demonstrations and jailings, the Nashville group took on virtually the whole second meeting in May.
He asked some people to pretend to sit-in, while others yelled insults, acting as harassers. “We’d try to stage it realistically. I’d say, ‘You have to cuss them out, call them bad names. ’ So we’d try to get people to act out potential scenes. And they did good work of it. People learned. ”33 The role-plays drained people, angered them, exhilarated them. Some participants began to eat together beforehand and ride home together afterward. In their free time, they talked about their lives, and many became friends.
Lawson’s broad historical context allowed them to draw from a rich lode of previous experience. “This was eye-opening stuff for me,” remembered Lewis. ” “To learn that the tension between what was right and what was wrong that had torn at me since I was old enough to think had a historic context, that people of 20 a mov e m e n t e duc at ion all cultures and all ages had struggled with the same issues, the same questions, the same brutal realities . . ”21 Warned for so many years by parents and other authorities not to discuss the way segregation made them feel, the words, once let loose, would not stop.