Profiles of movement organizers and participants.
Wyatt was born in Mississippi in 1924 and soon her family followed other African Americans to Mississippi. In 1940, she married Claude S. Wyatt, Jr. Wyatt’s deep faith led her to eventually to join her husband as a minister of the Vernon Park Church of God.
In 1941, Wyatt, looking to help with home expenses, began working in Chicago’s meat packing industry. Despite raising two children and caring for her brothers and sisters, Wyatt worked in the meat packing plants until 1954. She threw herself into the rising labor movement, and in 1953 she was elected vice president of the United Packinghouse and Food and Alliance Workers Union Local 26, which made her a pioneer in breaking gender barriers in American labor.
Wyatt had already established a national name for herself when the Chicago civil rights movement began to heat up in the early 1960s. (President John Kennedy appointed her to the Commission on the Status of Women.) During the Chicago Freedom Movement, Wyatt served on the Action Committee, which carried out protests and demonstrations. Few women served on this committee, and only men composed the Agenda Committee, which was charged with fashioning overall strategy.
The United Packinghouse Workers were one of the few unions to support the Chicago civil rights movement with vigor. The Packinghouse Workers union had always embraced a progressive social vision, though by the mid-1960s, the influence of the Chicago local had declined as Chicago’s packinghouses closed down. When Martin Luther King, Jr., spoke of creating a broad coalition to end slums, he hoped that other labor unions would be as energetic partners as the Packinghouse Workers union.
After the Chicago Freedom Movement, Wyatt supported Jesse Jackson’s Operation Breadbasket (later the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition), and she rose further in the labor movement becoming in 1976 the international vice president of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (the successor of the United Packinghouse Workers union). She became the first African-American woman to serve in the leadership of an international union. In 1975 Time magazine named her one of twelve Women of the Year.
Albert Raby was a Chicago public school teacher when he became active in the civil rights movement. Soon after, he was at the head of Chicago’s local movement, as convenor of the Coordinating Council of Community Organizations (CCCO). In this role, he served as the link between the national civil rights movement and local organizations, and had a great impact on the course of the movement.
Raby had been born into poverty in Chicago, and dropped out of school in eighth grade. He self-educated himself and became involved in union activity. After a stint in the army, he earned his high school diploma and then went to school to become a teacher. He was teaching at a school on the West Side of Chicago when he helped found Teachers for Integrated Schools (TFIS). TFIS selected him to be their delegate to the CCCO, and on January 11, 1964, he was appointed the organization’s convenor [Anderson and Pickering 129].
The CCCO was crucial in bringing the national civil rights movement to Chicago. When Martin Luther King, Jr., visited Chicago on his People to People tour, he recognized that the “CCCO represented the strongest indigenous civil rights movement in the North,” [Ralph 39] and he appreciated the help he received during his three-day visit. When the movement was officially launched in early 1966, Raby became its co-chairman.
As co-chair of the Agenda Committee, Raby supported the decision to choose open housing as the direct action focus for the Chicago Freedom Movement in the summer of 1966. Even before the movement began, Raby had criticized the segregationist policies of the Chicago Real Estate Board. Along with King in July 1966, he attended the initial meeting with Mayor Richard J. Daley where the demands of the movement were presented. Raby also served as a leader of open-housing marches, using his position as a local leader to draw support from those in Chicago communities affected by housing segregation.
The Chicago Freedom Movement was never a smooth operation. Raby did not see eye-to-eye with other leading activists like James Bevel on every matter, but in the end, the movement was able to mobilize enough marchers and produce enough pressure to bring city leaders to the table.
During the Summit negotiations, Raby was an effective negotiator. Accustomed to empty promises from the government, he sought guarantees of substantive progress in opening up all of Chicago's housing market to blacks. In the end, Raby believed that a movement had to institutionalize demands because its power was inherently short-lived. Raby therefore publicly endorsed the Summit Agreement and worked hard to ensure that promises made by city officials, realtors, and business leaders were fulfilled.
After the formal end of the open-housing marches and the departure of SCLC from Chicago, Raby continued to lead the CCCO and its protests.
In 1983 he served as the campaign director for Harold Washington during his historic election as Chicago's first black mayor. He then served as the director of the city's Human Relations Commission. He died suddenly and prematurely in the late 1980s.
Bernard LaFayette, Jr., was the first of the leading southern civil rights activists to turn to organizing in Chicago. In 1964, he was recruited to work for the Chicago office of the American Friends Service Committee. He began working on the city’s West Side and energized local residents to mobilize against lead poisoning. LaFayette’s presence in Chicago was decisive in luring James Bevel to Chicago in 1965 as program director for the West Side Christian Parish. LaFayette and Bevel attended the American Baptist Seminary together in Nashville, Tennessee. There they both became advocates of non-violent direct action and leaders in the Nashville sit-in movement in the early 1960s. LaFayette and Bevel were charter members of the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee. In 1961, both were instrumental in continuing the Freedom Rides when they seemed on the verge of halting because of vicious white violence in Alabama.
LaFayette helped to lay the groundwork for a broader mobilization of West Side residents. Ultimately, this effort led to the “End Slums” campaign of 1966. When the Chicago Freedom Movement sought a focus for a direct-action project in the summer of 1966, LaFayette drew on his commitment to nonviolence and experience in supervising direct action insurgency to strengthen the open-housing initiative. He was a critical figure in the Action Committee, which carried out the open-housing demonstrations in July and August 1966.
Martin Luther King, Jr., tapped LaFayette to serve as the director of the Poor People’s Campaign in 1968. Later, he earned his doctorate in education at Harvard University. Combining his formal study of nonviolence and his own application of this method of social change, he is now widely recognized as one of the leading exponents of nonviolent direct action in the world.
Dorothy Tillman came to Chicago to participate in the Chicago Freedom Movement in 1965 and is now one of the political leaders in the city of Chicago.
Born in Montgomery, Alabama, Dorothy Wright joined the civil rights movement as a teenager. Impressed by her passion for racial justice and commitment to action, the Reverend James Bevel recruited her to become an organizer for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). In March 1965 she marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, during the SCLC’s voting-rights campaign. By the fall of that year, she was on Chicago’s West Side as part of a vanguard SCLC team that was organizing West Side residents and laying the groundwork for a broader mobilization to end slums and housing discrimination during the following year.
While in Chicago, she met the musician Jimmy Lee Tillman, whom she married. They then moved to San Francisco, and she drew on her organizing experience to mobilize public housing residents to battle for equal access to public transportation.
In the 1970s, she returned to Chicago and threw herself into the fight for quality education in Chicago public schools. She brought national attention to the failings of inner-city schools, and she founded the Parent Equalizers of Chicago, a group that helped lead to broader school reform in Chicago.
In 1985, Tillman became the first woman to serve as the alderman of Chicago’s Third Ward. Her electoral success highlights her distinction as the only female elected official who was a member of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s staff in the 1950s and 1960s. She represented the Third War until 2007. In recent years, she has been one of the leading voices calling for reparations for the suffering African Americans endured under slavery.
Edwin “Bill” Berry was the aggressive leader of the Chicago Urban League who served as a leader of the Chicago Freedom Movement.
Berry was born in Oberlin, Ohio, and educated at Oberlin College. Still, he had trouble finding employment after college and therefore became involved in the Pittsburgh Urban League. He soon became the Executive Director of the Portland, Oregon chapter, where he was able to greatly strengthen the organization. When the board of the Chicago Urban League came together on October 19, 1955, to select a new Executive Director, it decided unanimously that Berry would be the best because he “was an aggressive but skillful and articulate executive.” [Strickland 195] As Executive Director, Berry shifted the direction of the Urban League from “case work, mass placement, and block organization” to tackling “causes instead of effects.” [Strickland 197]
The Chicago Urban League was technically not allowed to be a protest group, owing to its charter, but Berry joined the Agenda Committee of the Chicago Freedom Movement and contributed the resources of the Urban League, especially its research department. Berry was also involved in the open-housing marches and at the summit negotiations between the movement, the government, and the business community. His talent of working with Chicago's power elite led some grassroots activism to worry that he was too conservative in his orientation.
Berry, while excited about the prospect of a civil rights movement in Chicago, was rightly concerned that the city would be abandoned after the movement was over, and made these concerns clear to Martin Luther King, Jr. “I spent a great deal of time discussing with Martin and some of his others,” Berry said, “the difference between the way you proceed in a community where you are going to stay for a while and one you visit and leave.” [William-Berry Interview]
James Bevel was the charismatic Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) field general who organized and led many of the actions of the Chicago Freedom Movement. Born in Mississippi in 1936, Bevel came to the civil rights movement after training to be a minister at the American Baptist Seminary and a brief stint in the Army.
Bevel first learned of the potential of non-violent direct action in the Nashville sit-in movement of 1960. During that year, he became one of the charter members of the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee. After joining the Freedom Rides in 1961 and organizing Mississippi blacks, he was recruited to join SCLC when its leaders decided that the organization needed staffers who could encourage youth activity. He was a critical strategist in SCLC's landmark campaigns in Birmingham and Selma, Alabama.
Bevel had grown up in part in the Midwestern city of Cleveland, Ohio, and he was married to native Chicagoan Diane Nash Bevel, so he was well aware of the inequities that northern blacks faced. In 1965 he became program director of the West Side Christian Parish, an inner-city outreach ministry on Chicago's West Side. From that post, he teamed up with his friend Bernard LaFayette, who was already working on the West Side, other activists, and an SCLC advance team to lay the foundation for SCLC's Chicago project.
According to one Chicago civil rights worker, Bevel immediately "fashioned an impressive reputation as an inspiring orator, a brilliant civil rights strategist." [Ralph 41] According to another activist, "It always seemed that Bevel was the one who got up and drew the diagrams on the blackboard and had all these new insights and ideas . . . he was a real philosopher." [Ralph 50]
When the Chicago Freedom Movement decided to target the city's dual housing market, Bevel, as a member of the Action Committee, helped to apply nonviolent direct action to tackle this problem. When calls came from influential Chicagoans in the summer of 1966 to halt the marches, Bevel insisted that the marches had to continue.
At the summit negotiations involving movement activists, city officials, real estate representatives, religious leaders, and the business community, Bevel demanded immediate action to ending housing discrimination. Even though not entirely happy with the resulting Summit agreement, he sought to dissuade disgruntled Chicago Freedom Movement activists from staging a march on Cicero in September 1966.
After the open-housing campaign, Bevel focused more of his energies on ending the war in Vietnam. His influence helped to spur Martin Luther King, Jr., to denounce the war in 1967.
In recent years, Bevel has worked in Chicago and Philadelphia to address the kinds of inner-city problems that the Chicago Freedom Movement confronted in 1966.
As a historian and journalist, I've worked in the field of 1960s Civil Rights Movement history from 1983-1990, in 1995, and from1997 (on and off) to the present, specifically focusing on and researching the career of James L. Bevel, the Director of Direct Action and Director of Nonviolent Education of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC).
Early in this research I concluded that Rev. Bevel initiated, strategized and directed each of SCLC's now-almost-legendary movements. Further conclusions:James Bevel taught most of the people who carried out SCLC's '60s movements in the movement cities the 'how-to's' and philosophies of functional nonviolence; that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rev. James Bevel made up the first-tier of the movement, and that the correct historical viewpoint and academic study of that era will include the reality and the legacy of the King-Bevel team.
Rev. James Bevel's Role in the 1960s Movements:
In short, in 1962--after civil rights activist James Lawson suggested to Andrew Young and Martin Luther King Jr. that they issue an invitation and meet with James Bevel--Dr. King and Rev. Bevel met in Dr. King's office in Atlanta, Georgia.
In that historic meeting Dr. King and Rev. Bevel joined forces. They agreed to work together to end segregation in America, to obtain voting rights for all adults, to open the nation's housing, to work-on and correct various issues of miseducation and war, to use nonviolence fully to achieve those goals, and to ask for monetary donations only if they were actually working on a correctly run and defined movement.
So contrary to past accounts, Rev. Bevel never did act as Dr. King's 'aide' or 'lieutenant'. For at the time of their agreement each had already undergone an intense study of Gandhian nonviolence; each had experienced several years of day-by-day decision making in front-line social movements; and each had already learned, matured, and succeeded within the framework of history making events.
By 1962 it had become apparent to Dr. King and others that King could inspire, and that he could calmly explain a country's errors and a people's hopes to a nation of diverse people. But he hadn't and couldn't--and knew that he couldn't--strategize and run a full-fledged nonviolent movement. Dr. King learned that the only person in America who had shown both an understanding of functional nonviolence and the ability to put it into practical action was Rev. James Bevel.
Martin Luther King Jr. needed James Bevel as much as Bevel--a young firebrand with a no-holds-barred speaking style--needed King. For together they could, and did, successfully mix their skills and personalities; team-up the different sets of people each could communicative most effectively with; and achieve almost all of the agreed-upon agenda worked out in their 1962 meeting.
Earlier, Rev. Bevel, while a student in Nashville, Tennessee, had been taught off-campus by James Lawson--then a member of SCLC's field staff--and by Myles Horton and the staff of the Highlander Folk School (Bevel calls Horton "The father of the civil rights movement"--with good reason once you timeline who took his classes and when). Bevel then worked with fellow students Bernard Lafayette, Diane Nash, John Lewis, and many others in the 1960 Nashville Lunch-Counter Sit-In; helped them and others found SNCC--the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee; directed SNCC's successful 1961 Open Theater Movement; and joined Diane Nash--who initiated the action--and their other Nashville students in continuing the 1961 Freedom Ride.
During their month-long stay in jail at the conclusion of the Freedom Ride, Jim Bevel co-initiated the well-known Mississippi Freedom Movement with Bernard Lafayette. Bevel then strategized and directed this movement, and also directed the action in Greenwood, Mississippi; recruited and trained such activists as Fannie Lou Hamer; and co-founded Mississippi's movement newspaper with Medgar Evers.
Then, after joining Dr. King and SCLC in 1962, James Bevel:
Initiated the 1963 Birmingham Children's Crusade
Strategized the " " " "
Directed the " " " "
Called the 1963 March On Washington
Co-Initiated [with Diane Nash] SCLC's Alabama Project
Initiated the 1965 Selma Voting Rights Movement
Strategized the " " " " "
Directed the " " " " "
Initiated the Selma-to-Montgomery March
Directed the " " " "
Initiated SCLC's role in the 1966 Chicago Freedom Movement
Strategized the 1966 Chicago Open Housing Movement
Directed the " " " "
Joined Coretta Scott King, David Dellinger, and others in talking Dr. King into actively opposing the Vietnam War, then
Chaired & directed the Anti-Vietnam War Movement in 1967, and
Initiated the 1967 March on the Pentagon
Rev. Bevel acted on several of these major history changing events with a quick "second to the motion" by his wife Diane Nash, arguably--and seemingly easily proven--the most important female participant in the Civil Rights era.
Results of Maintaining Integrity in Nonviolent Movements
The first task James Bevel choose for himself when the Nashville students decided to experiment with nonviolence pertained to a quote he'd read from Mohandas Gandhi. In Jim Bevel's words:
"As I kept reading Gandhi I came across something which, if true, answered my childhood question, 'What can I personally do to make a difference in ending segregation?'
"It's not the masses that makes a movement work," Gandhi said. 'If just one person can maintain integrity on the question, that's what makes a movement work.'
"Okay," I thought, "I can agree in my heart that I can maintain integrity on the question of ending segregation. I don't know what else I can do, but I know the difference between lying and honesty, between a genuine act and an ego-trip, and between really acting on the health, interests, rights and needs of the people and pretending to do that. So if what Gandhi said is right, I can fill that slot in a movement."
This may end up as one of Jim Bevel's most recognized and important contribution to the success of the 1960s movements. For at a few key junctures when Dr. King and others attempted to change agreed-upon plans by objecting or trying to stop James Bevel's actions, Rev. Bevel, remembering Gandhi's words, persisted.
An example of this occurred during the 1963 Birmingham Children's Crusade when John Kennedy's administration asked Dr. King to stop using the children. Dr. King agreed, and asked Rev. Bevel, who had organized, taught, and led the children's campaign, to call it off . Instead, Bevel escalated. He first got King's okay to escalate, and then began organizing the children for a march up the highway to Washington to talk to Kennedy. (See the addendum of my paper printed in Prof. David Garrow's 1989 book "We Shall Overcome, Volume II" for a more detailed description of this action and how it led directly to the 1963 March On Washington and the 1964 Civil Rights Act)
Another instance of SCLC's reluctance to follow their Director of Direct Action involves the Voting Rights Movement:
As reported in several sources, immediately after a bomb in Birmingham's Sixteenth Street Baptist Church killed four young girls attending Sunday School on September 15, 1963, Rev. Bevel and Diane Nash, doing movement work in North Carolina at the time, wrote up a plan for an Alabama Project. This plan would direct the anger and hate over the murders into a very quick Southernwide strategy to obtain the right to vote. Jim Bevel telephoned key people in SCLC, SNCC, the NAACP and CORE after Nash had already left to present their plan to Dr. King--calling them to explain the reasoning of his simpler and more effective plan-- but none of these groups or any others would join it. So Bevel, Nash, and Birmingham activist James Orange started to organize the Alabama Project. SCLC's national staff did not join it until over a year later, when they finally agreed to work on the Alabama Project and it became known as the Selma Voting Rights Movement.
During the "end-game" of that action, the night before the March 7, 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery, Dr. King--who had a meeting in Atlanta and planned to miss the march--and SCLC chief-of-staff Andrew Young became concerned that not enough people had shown up in Selma. They tried to talk Rev. Bevel out of his plan. But Jim Bevel proceeded with the agreed-upon action, resulting in the famous walk across the Pettus Bridge. There the group of marchers, led by John Lewis and Hosea Williams, met and received severe beatings from the Alabama Highway Patrol and the Selma police.
This event, America's "Bloody Sunday", led President Lyndon Baines Johnson to go before a nationally televised joint session of Congress to clearly articulate the definition and goals of the Civil Rights Movement. Johnson then demanded the immediate writing and passage of a Voting Rights Act.
Another example. When the Selma Movement ended, James Bevel choose Chicago as the site of SCLC's Northern Campaign. When Dr. King and others in SCLC objected, Rev. Bevel then explained his reasoning to Dr. King, mainly that he realized during the Selma Movement that the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) already had a group of trained nonviolent practitioners in place in Chicago. Again, Dr. King and SCLC's national staff followed Jim Bevel's advice.
An interesting note of how the Chicago Open Housing Movement ended [for rebuttals of this account, please see the rejoinders by Kale Williams and Jim Ralph], at least in James Bevel's viewpoint: Rev. Bevel, who directed SCLC's action in Chicago, recalls an agreement reached during its well-known Summit Conference. This agreement, quickly discussed at an off-the-record moment requested by Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley--and apparently missed by most of the conference participants--occurred between Mayor Daley, Dr. King, James Bevel, Bill Berry, and Daley attorney William Ming.
Richard Daley, Bevel recalls, said that Ming would help advance open housing through the nation's court system, and that once it became law he, Daley, as Mayor, would set up a citywide commission to implement it. Daley said that he would then assist other mayors to do the same. But Richard Daley asked that these promises not be publicly announced, because he feared that by giving such a promise of assistance to the movement he might lose his political and even his physical life. Jim Bevel, taking Daley at his word, knew at that movement that the movement had ended--something Jim Bevel would not have agreed to do without it reaching a successful conclusion.
This agreement between Mayor Daley and the top-tier of SCLC, previously released in slightly different forms, becomes more fully reported here for the first time because the previous reports contained an error. In my earlier writings I'd taken James Bevel's words "private meeting" to mean just that, 'a private meeting', when he really meant "a discussion off the record during the conference". A thank you to historian James Ralph Jr. (author of "Northern Protest") and to Summit Conference participant Kale Williams (Chicago's AFSC chairman during the sixties) for strongly questioning my account, eventually forcing me to further clarify this with Rev. Bevel and to discover my mistake.
A few more words about the Chicago Movement. Since Jim Bevel, as SCLC's 1960s strategist and Director of Direct Action, considers this movement as much of a success as the movement in Nashville and the more publicly recognized movements in Birmingham and Selma, Chicago's "place" in movement history needs a higher level of historical recognition. Historian Taylor Branch's upcoming book will give a detailed look at the Chicago movement and its success, as will the upcoming 40th anniversary events, and I urge other historians and journalists to give it further attention. One way to do this would consist of more fully interviewing a few participants whose stories have also "slipped through the cracks" of research, notably David Jehnsen, Kale Williams, Mary Lou Finley, and the legacy of the late Bill Moyer--and to extensively reinterview noted '60s activist Bernard Lafayette.
As for Chicago '66 and its place in history, just as the Civil Rights Act followed the end of the Birmingham Movement by a few months, and the Voting Rights Act became voted in months after that movement had ended, ending legal segregation in housing came after the successful end of the Open Housing Movement. It took until 1968 for both the Supreme Court and Congress to remove this immense barrier, one of the last renments of racial segregation. But remove it they did, just as Dr. King, Richard Daley, James Bevel--movement activists from 1966, one way or another--had expected and worked towards.
I'll end this section with another point highlighting Jim Bevel's place as the '60s movement's strategist. Whenever SCLC went outside of Rev. Bevel's advice during the era--as they did with the St. Augustine action in 1964, the request for SCLC's help in Memphis in 1968, and the Poor People's Campaign (the latter two events also opposed by SCLC staff member and Bevel student Jesse Jackson)--they failed to achieve the desired results. James Bevel--probably uniquely among the participants of the era--knew what movement looked like and knew how to initiate, teach, and implement the data needed for a successful movement, and so he easily recognized that none of these three actions contained correct nonviolent movement strategy or, equally important, a constitutional basis. In fact, Rev. Bevel says that SCLC's national staff decided to go to St. Augustine to avoid becoming a part of the Alabama Project.
Research Emergence of James Bevel's role in U.S. history and further new data on the Selma to Montgomery March
Since 1968 James Bevel's legacy has emerged bit-by-bit. Although some recent books have started to edge towards the full credit Bevel deserves (and I think historian and Pulitzer Prize winner David Garrow, author of "Bearing The Cross" and other works, has possibly become aware of the full pattern), until the mid-1980s other participants in the 1960s movement hesitated to fully talk about Rev. Bevel's work. So in 1983, after reading a fund-raising paper by Bevel's former wife, Myeka, I began to extensively interview Rev. Bevel, and then did the research and conducted the interviews with other movement participants to ascertain if the then accepted historical record had major omissions and flaws.
In almost all instances, with very few minor exceptions, this research convinced me of Bevel's accurate memory of his prominent place in the events. I concluded that many of the books, documentaries, and feature films on the 1960s--and even such things as the numerous books listing prominent African-Americans--either failed to mention James Bevel, or had mistakenly limited their coverage of his role, because the sourced material from previous books and articles had themselves used inaccurate information.
Just one example: Several sources credited Selma activist Lucy Foster with initiating the Selma-to-Montgomery March. In interviews with many of the participants, I found that both Foster and Bevel had independently thought-up the idea (Foster built on Jim Bevel's already-in-place plan to organize a car caravan from Selma to Montgomery) but that Bevel did not know of Foster's idea until the mid-1980s. The data in the N.Y. Times accounts at the time and in such books as Charles Fager's "Selma 1965", giving the credit for the actual initiation and formation of the march to Rev. Bevel, proved accurate. In fact Charles Fager says in his recent book, "Eating Dr. King's Dinner", that Jim Bevel walked right into his room at [correction, 11/1/05: "walked into his room at Mrs. Amelia Boynton's home] a few minutes after coming up with the plan, awakening Fager and his wife to excitedly tell them about it. (This occurred, I recently learned from Rev. Bevel, just after Bevel had first told Selma activist Annie Lee Cooper, then working as the night manager of the Torch Motel, about his plan.)
The initiation of the Selma-to-Montgomery march, and this may be the first time this story has appeared, occurred when Jim Bevel came up with the plan while walking around outside the Torch Motel late at night after his wife, Diane Nash, had told him that Jimmie Lee Jackson (shot almost a week earlier by an Alabama State Trooper after another trooper had turned the streetlights off during an evening voting rights demonstration) would soon die. Then, after also having an argument with Nash over her plans to divorce him--an argument where he physically shoved her onto the bed and stormed out the door-- Jim Bevel walked around and around the Torch Motel's lawn and the woods in back of it, walking in order to figure out a way to stop the murderous impulses which he knew would arise in the area's people once Jimmie Lee Jackson died. He says he had to find a nonviolent way to channel these upcoming violent impulses in others, as well as to use his own angry and hurt emotions and his violence towards Diane for something positive and redemptive, and he decided. . .
To take the people of the community and of the nation on a walk to Montgomery to ask Governor George Wallace just one question.
"Governor Wallace, did you do this? Did you order the lights turned off at the demonstration?"
The people did take the walk, and Jim Bevel and Dr. King did ask Governor Wallace that question--finding out that no, Wallace had known nothing about the demonstration beforehand. Yet that march, the march to Montgomery to calm the people and to give them time to think, also caused President Lyndon Johnson to think. Johnson then stood on the podium before Congress, both joined and ended the Selma movement at the same time, and proclaimed to the world, "We Shall Overcome."
A brief selection of quotes collected during my interviews, 1983-1990; 1995-1998
"The Bevel story does revise the history of the Civil Rights Movement and it needs to be told" ---- Robert St. John
"I don't think we would have had a movement without him. . .He played a very important role, and that role was translated into a successful movement" ---- Andrew Young
"Even the March on Washington was Jim Bevel's idea"
---- Bernard Lafayette
"I'd say 98% of the plans and activities in Selma were Bevel's. The Selma Movement was Bevel's baby."
---- James Orange
"We would have never gone to Selma, and there would not have been a Voting Rights Bill today if James Bevel had not conceived of the idea" "Jim was the originator of the idea of the march from Selma to Montgomery. Jim Bevel is the author of that." "Dr. King could not have done the things he did unless he had a James Bevel."
---- Ralph David Abernathy
"He was a great philosopher, an unbelievable philosopher."
---- Hosea Williams
Rev. Jesse Jackson, Related Quotes
Although I haven't yet gotten an interview with Jesse Jackson, who James Bevel mentored and later sponsored in SCLC, Jackson claimed in Ebony Magazine (August, 1967) that he was inspired by "Jesus, Malcolm X, James Bevel, and Dr. King."
Rev. Jackson later wrote of the '60s Civil Rights Movement: "Bevel was the real creative genius of that period."
For over 40 years the perceived and accepted view of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement missed much--maybe as much as half from the viewpoint of shared leadership--of the first-tier story. The King-Bevel team which brought this movement its successes exists as a historical fact.
The contributions Dr. King and Rev. Bevel designed and achieved caused the United States government to legally end segregation. Their movements--a series of events which brought about new social agreements and a new consciousness within America's citizens--later inspired women, environmentalists, gays, and other activists throughout the world to point out errors and unfairness, act upon trying to solve them, and then to gradually attain the benefits of reasonable alternative viewpoints within civilization's ever-changing information and activity flow.
In short, James Bevel created the contexts, and Dr. King told the world about them. Jim Bevel, in essence, wrote the plays, choose the theaters, and trained the actors. When he saw his students become ready to take the stage, he let them, and by that time they, truths to be told and lessons learned, knew exactly what to do. By simply knowing how to be responsible, honest, and loving, and deciding to act as both citizens of a constitutional nation and members of a nonviolent community, they became able to lead each other into history by simply taking a few walks down a handful of streets.
All of this changed the civilization. What once looked to America and the world as regrettable but normal--a regiment of institutionalized segregation--just seven short years later looked like insanity.
The healing had occurred.
Previous release of my research:
"James L. Bevel, the Strategist of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement" Self-published, 1984, then printed, with a 1988 addendum, in David Garrow's "We Shall Overcome, Volume II" (Carlson Publishing Co. 1989). The original paper had a few errors, almost all corrected in the 1988 addendum.
"1960s Nonviolent Technology and the Work of Student Leader and SCLC Strategist James Bevel" a lecture and academic presentation presented at the 1993 "Towards a History of the Sixties" conference in Madison, Wisconsin co-sponsored by the University of Wisconsin and the State Historical Society of Wisconsin. Research presented for the first time during this session includes SNCC activist Prathia Hall's initiation of the "I Have A Dream" speech as well as many large and small details of James Bevel's work.
A letter to the editor in the January 1, 1988 'Chicago Sun-Times', the first and--as of this data release on October 3, 2005--still the only accurate and semi-full major media mention of James Bevel's overall role in America's 1960s Civil Rights Movement. Though the Sun-Times edited the letter, it left in enough data on Bevel's accomplishments to make this a substantial document.
Various drafts and corrected edits of a full book, 1990-2005
Other early release of my research included several press releases sent from November, 1983 (a month after I met and began to research Rev. Bevel) through most of 1984. The only media use of these: the 'Chicago Independent Bulletin' printed these releases verbatim as headline news on Dec. 15, 1983; Jan. 26, 1984, and Feb. 2, 1984. During this time period many copies of my one-page paper "James L. Bevel: A Brief History" also began circulating.
In May of 2000 I emailed a short research summary, sent--as this one has gone--to historians; historical institutions, media editors, columnists, and reporters; and to other possibly interested people, including those named in the summary. The 2000 paper had no media coverage, although it elicited some discussion among historians. One reason I believe the James Bevel story hasn't yet found its true niche in historical and public consciousness--besides the fact that it may seem overwhelming--a form of "how did everyone miss this?" impulse--finds explanation below.
James Bevel's 1990s work
A probable reason James Bevel's legacy hasn't found widespread telling may pertain to--in my opinion--his misguided run as Vice President on Lyndon Larouche's 1992 ticket. They received only 26,000 votes. Jim Bevel joined the race because, after Larouche asked him, and Bevel tried to find him another running mate, he discovered that no one else would run with Larouche.
Larouche asked, Bevel liked the state of the fellow's marriage--Rev. Bevel considers principled marriages important to the success of mutually shared public actions (i.e. his own historic partnership with Diane Nash)--and felt that "since a citizen wants to stand for a constitutional office, I'll stand with him".
This, since it has given some people an easy way to dismiss him, may put a defined face on Rev. Bevel's tendency since the '60s to "hide-in-the-open". At that point I hadn't talked to Bevel in quite awhile, and knew nothing of his decision until the '92 election ended. If I had known I would have tried to talk him out of it, for I knew it would hurt him historically and would give the easy excuse mentioned above. From my own selfish perspective I would have not wanted a story I had involved myself in telling take a turn that I knew would put it further on the back-burner. I didn't like or dislike Larouche at the time, and found some of his writings entertaining and others full of enough conjuncture and accusatory jumping-to-conclusions that I experienced them as less than civil. I did applaud his advocating American funding for establishment of a colony on Mars (science geek that I am), but after finding out about the '92 campaign I knew that Larouche's sometimes informative but oftentimes--to put it nicely--generational gap inspired conspiracy theories, would glue-onto James Bevel's legacy.
Although during that election cycle I served as Jerry Brown's representative from Wisconsin on the Democratic National Platform Committee, this would not have added to my reasons for trying to discourage Bevel's run.
Now, many years later, I think the time may have come to 'let up' on this series of events as a reason to ignore Rev. Bevel's full place in history. James Bevel did his important deeds in the 1960s, and that historical period would not have evolved and unfolded as it did without his immense contribution. And no matter if one likes Rev. Bevel's current or past enthusiasms, his deeds and story stand, along with those of Dr. King, elected officials such as Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt, and several of the founders of the republic and drafters of its Constitution, at the very pinnacle of American history.
Jim Bevel did come to bat one more time. In 1994 Rev. Bevel co-initiated what became the largest single gathering in one place in American History--the1995 Day of Atonement Million Man March.
The agreement, as I understand it, occurred in under half a minute. Jim Bevel, who had a personal urge to find a way to call a national day of atonement, mentioned the idea to Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam. Farrakhan himself had an ongoing urge: to somehow gather a million men, but he hadn't thought of a reason to call the men together.The two ideas instantly meshed, and another major event of 20th Century America bore the James Bevel imprint.
Randy Kryn’s essay shines the spotlight on the achievements of James Bevel, a man whose accomplishments are not as widely known as they should be.
I write this rejoinder not in response to Mr. Kryn’s illumination of the Reverend Bevel’s important role in shaping modern American history, but rather in response to his depiction of a little-known deal during the Summit conferences of August 1966, “quickly discussed at an off-the-record moment requested by Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley,” between Daley, attorney William Ming, Martin Luther King, Jr., James Bevel, and Bill Berry (head of the Chicago Urban League).
The Summit negotiations did involve private sessions, including discussions among representatives of the Chicago Freedom Movement, Chicago city officials, the real estate industry, and civic, labor, and religious organizations as part of a negotiating subcommittee chaired by Thomas Ayers between August 16 and August 26. Those sessions led directly to the Summit agreement that was announced on August 26.
Mr. Kryn contends, based on the recollections of James Bevel, that there was another layer in these negotiations, a critical eleventh-hour deal in which Mayor Daley gave assurances that he would use his influence to pursue a court case that would prohibit housing discrimination. These assurances were, Mr. Kryn suggests, critical to the ultimate decision by the Chicago Freedom Movement to suspend its open-housing marches and endorse the Summit agreement.
I am convinced that such an “off-the-record” deal did not take place.
I first heard of the secret accord from James Bevel in the mid-1980s. I tried to find corroborating evidence. I could not. No one connected with the Daley administration in 1966 with whom I spoke knew anything of the “off-the-record” agreement. I was present, moreover, at an interview with Bill Berry, and he said nothing about it. No member of the Agenda Committee with whom I spoke ever mentioned, or even hinted at, such an agreement, including Al Raby who, along with Martin Luther King, Jr., was the co-chair of the Chicago Freedom Movement. Moreover, I did not come across any written evidence, from 1966 or later, that pointed to the presence of such an agreement. There was nothing in the files of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), nor in those of the Chicago Urban League. The records in the Lyndon Johnson Presidential Library as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation were silent on this matter too. Furthermore, until Mr. Kryn’s assertions no account of the Chicago Freedom Movement, including those by participants such as Andrew Young (one of Martin Luther King’s closest advisers), suggested that an “off-the-record” accord was reached.
There are other reasons to reject the story of an unpublicized agreement. First and foremost, it flies in the face of how the Chicago Freedom Movement operated. The Chicago Freedom Movement was an alliance between SCLC and the Coordinating Council of Community Organizations (CCCO). Throughout the Chicago campaign, Martin Luther King and the SCLC leadership took pains to note that this was a shared endeavor. Mr. Kryn’s account of the “off-the-record” accord leaves out Al Raby, the head of the CCCO. The finalizing of such an important agreement reached without his knowledge (and consent) is unimaginable.
Second, Mr. Kryn has not specified the legal approach that Mayor Daley pledged to support. The most important case on housing discrimination was Jones v. Mayer, which reached the Supreme Court in 1968. In this case, the nation’s highest court contended that denial of equal opportunity in housing violated the Constitution. This was a major decision. This case did not emerge out of Chicago, however. It involved a St. Louis builder, and there is no evidence that Chicago officials played any role in its outcome. Below is a list of all of those who filed a brief in support of plaintiff who sought relief from discrimination in seeking housing. Not one came from a Chicago organization.
(From the records of the court, I see no evidence of a Chicago connection; see the briefs of amici curiae below. For a fuller description, see http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=US&navby=case&vol=392&invol=409&friend=oyez
Briefs of amici curiae, urging reversal, were filed by Thomas C. Lynch, Attorney General, Charles A. O'Brien, Chief Deputy Attorney General, and Loren Miller, Jr., and Philip M. Rosten, Deputy Attorneys General, for the State of California; by Frank J. Kelley, Attorney General, Robert A. Derengoski, Solicitor General, and Carl Levin, Assistant Attorney General, for the State of Michigan (Civil Rights Commission); by Norman H. Anderson, Attorney General, C. B. Burns, Jr., Special Assistant Attorney General, and Louis C. Defeo, Jr., and Deann Duff, Assistant Attorneys General, for the Missouri Commission on Human Rights; by Richard W. Mason, Jr., Ilus W. Davis, and Joseph H. McDowell for Kansas City, Missouri, and Kansas City, Kansas; by Leo Pfeffer and Melvin L. Wulf for the American Civil Liberties Union et al.; by Sol Rabkin, Robert L. Carter, Joseph B. Robison, Arnold Forster, Paul Hartman, and Beverly Coleman for the National Committee against Discrimination in Housing et al.; by John Ligtenberg and Andrew J. Leahy for the American Federation of Teachers et al.; by James I. Huston for the Path Association; by William B. Ball for the National Catholic Conference for Interracial Justice et al.; by Charles H. Tuttle and Robert Walston Chubb for the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States et al.; by Edwin J. Lukas for the American Jewish Committee et al., and by Henry S. Reuss, pro se, and Phineas Indritz for Henry S. Reuss. [392 U.S. 409, 412] )
The wisdom and efficacy of the Summit Agreement has been debated ever since it was finalized in late August 1966, even by some ardent supporters of the Chicago Freedom Movement, not a few of whom decided to participate in a march on Cicero in early September, a march that was in part a protest against the timing and terms of the agreement. The decision to end the open-housing marches will, I predict, continue to be debated into the future.
--November 2005. Jim Ralph is a professor of history at Middlebury College, Vermont, and he is the author of "Northern Protest: Martin Luther King, Jr., Chicago, and the Civil Rights Movement."
Kryn, based on conversations with Bevel reports a secret meeting between Daley, himself and two or three others during the Summit Meeting in which Daley pledged agreement with and support of the goals of CFM. I, and others of that period, have no memory and doubt that it could have taken place.
Here are my recollections which lead me to believe that no such meeting could have taken place:
• During the morning session of the Summit, after the CFM delegates had caucused and Raby reported our position that Daley’s promises that he had heard the Movement’s message and marches could now cease, but with no specifics, was not acceptable as a resolution. He reported that the Movement would continue the discussion, but would not end the marches until there were specific actions by the city to open housing to African Americans. Daley was visibly angry, and his colleague in the City Council, Tom Keane muttered “F--- ‘em, Dick, F---‘em. (I was sitting within one seat of Daley and Keane.)
• On the second day of negotiations by the appointed negotiating committee, Daley sought and obtained from the court an injunction limiting the number of marches, the number of marchers, requiring advance notice and specific routes and times. This was seen by the CFM as a breach of good faith in the negotiations and the very opposite of conciliation.
• Daley did not attend any of the sessions of the negotiating subcommittee and his representative, Lewis Manilow, did not offer significant support or specific actions by the City; instead, he continued to argue in the session and informally during breaks, to trust Daley to do the right thing.
• In my memory, Bevel, who was a member of the five-person CFM delegation in the negotiating committee, (the others were Raby, Bill Berry, John McDermott, and Kale Williams) was opposed to the Summit Agreement that was reached, finding it too weak. (Future events proved him right.)
• After the Leadership Council was created in November, 1966, representatives of the city were not forthcoming with city support; Freedom Movement delegates were disappointed with early activities, and sometime early on, spoke to the Board of the Leadership Council and threatened a resumption of the marches. This is not consistent with Bevel’s current view that the City was fully co-operative.
--November 2005. Kale Williams was a member of the Agenda Committee of the Chicago Freedom Movement. He served as the director of the Leadership Council for Metropolitan Open Communities for twenty years. He is currently a Senior Scholar in Residence at Loyola University’s Center for Urban Research and Learning.
Jesse Jackson is a long-time civil rights leader and political activist who played an important role in the Chicago Freedom Movement. Born in Greenville, South Carolina in 1941, he attended the University of Illinois and North Carolina A&T, and came to Chicago in 1964 to attend the Chicago Theological Seminary.
Jackson was a student protest leader in the local civil rights movement in Greensboro, North Carolina, and then had worked with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in its Selma campaign in 1965. had long been involved in civil rights activity, particularly in working with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC. When SCLC decided to come to Chicago, Jackson, as a seminary student, had already been working as a civil rights activist on the city’s South Side and volunteering at the West Side Christian Parish. Jackson then turned to mobilizing black clergy to support the goals of the Chicago Freedom Movement.
Jackson became the coordinator of the Chicago program of Operation Breadbasket, which encouraged blacks to only patronize stores and restaurants that employed blacks. The program was effective, as it gained scores of new jobs at businesses that had hitherto hired only whites though had black customers.
Jackson also served as a member of the movement’s Action Committee, planning strategy for non-violent direct action. He led marches through the city’s Southwest side, Gage Park, and Oak Park. When Mayor Daley took out an injunction against the marches due to the racial violence they had provoked from the angry white residents in the areas where they marched, Jackson encouraged the movement to break the injunction and continue to march.
After the movement, Jackson led a successful campaign in 1969 against construction workers that did not allow minority participation. He founded the Coalition of United Community Action, a coalition of sixty organizations that shut down construction sites throughout the city. [Ralph 229] He later formed People United to Serve Humanity and the Rainbow Coalition, two civil rights groups that merged in 1996 to form the Rainbow/PUSH coalition.
In 1984 and 1988, he drew on the networks that his civil rights work had created to seek the nomination of the Democratic Party to be president. These historic campaigns helped make Jackson the best known civil rights leader in the country.
Kale Williams has had an active career in human rights advocacy, most of it in Chicago. A veteran of service in the U. S. Navy in World War II and a graduate of the University of Chicago, he became a pacifist and began a career with the American Friends Service Committee, organizing volunteer work projects in Chicago’s Black ghettos, assistance to Native Americans in the southwest, famine relief in the Nigeria-Biafra civil war, and opposition to the Vietnam war.
The Chicago AFSC staff was fully engaged in the Chicago Freedom Movement; Williams was a member of the Agenda Committee, headed by Martin King and Al Raby. Later he was the executive director of the Leadership Council for Metropolitan Open Communities, the fair housing organization that was a direct outgrowth of that Movement. After 20 years of service there, he was invited to Loyola University Chicago as Visiting Professor of Applied Ethics, and later was appointed Senior Scholar in Loyola’s Center for Urban Research and Learning, a position he still holds.
Lyndon Baines Johnson was born into poverty near rural Stonewall, Texas, in 1908. From these roots, he would later become a President who stressed fighting poverty, strengthening education, and improving race relations.
Although his family was poor, his mother ensured he received a proper education. His father was a populist, and Lyndon was influenced by his father’s political views and activities. Although he did not pass the entrance exam to Southwest Texas Teacher’s College on his first try, he was able to gain acceptance after further study and tutoring. While teaching high school in Texas, his father recommended him for a job as Congressman Richard Kleberg’s secretary, which he received. Since Kleberg was usually away from the office, Johnson took control of the office.
Johnson was soon named the head of the National Youth Administration, and returned to Washington in 1938 as a Congressman. After a stint in the Army, Johnson was elected as a Senator from Texas in 1948. He quickly became the most powerful man in the Senate, pushing through controversial legislation such as the Civil Rights Act of 1957. After he lost the Democratic presidential primary to John F. Kennedy in 1960, Kennedy asked him to be Vice President because of the sectional balance he would bring to the Democratic ticket.
As Vice President, Johnson was uncomfortable with his role. After Kennedy’s assassination, Johnson assumed the presidency, and he used the position to push forward a new Great Society program. At his first State of the Union address, Johnson called for an unconditional war on poverty and supported legislation to use federal government resources in inner-city areas.
In his second term, Johnson passed new legislation to this effect. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 called for an end to segregation of public facilities and schools, prompting Johnson to comment that he had just handed the South to the Republican Party.
When in March 1965 he addressed the nation in response to the white violence against demonstrators crusading for voting rights in Selma, Alabama, Johnson used the language of the civil rights movement – “We Shall Overcome.” This reference highlighted the movement's success in swaying popular opinion. In August 1965, Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law and in so doing opened the way for greater political participation by blacks in southern politics. He also established an Office of Economic Opportunity, increased educational spending, and established the Medicare and Medicaid programs to benefit the poor and elderly.
As the Chicago Freedom Movement was unfolding, another civil rights bill, which contained a section prohibiting housing discrimination, was under discussion in Congress. Johnson himself never sought to harness support for this bill by pointing out the white violence against open-housing marchers in Chicago. In part this was because he did not want to stride to forcefully into Chicago politics which was the preserve of the powerful Mayor Richard Daley who was a leading figure in the Democratic Party. While the civil rights bill of passed the House in its weakened form, it faced strong opposition from many senators. The Senate majority leader, Senator Everett Dirksen of Illinois, specifically mentioned the tactics of the Chicago Freedom Movement in his opposition speech. He denounced “the other leaders who’ve gone into white areas of Chicago, for instance; that is, after all, calculated harassment.” [Ralph 192] The bill was killed by the Senate.
Ultimately, the unpopularity of the Vietnam war, which Johnson had decided to escalate, led to Johnson's decision not to run for a second full term. Johnson did see the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 which contained a fair-housing provision. His later life was spent at his ranch near his birthplace in Texas, where he died of a heart attack in 1973.
Martin Luther King, Jr., the pre-eminent non-violent leader of the black civil rights movement, came to Chicago in 1966 in an attempt to confront de facto segregation in the urban North. King was born on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia, the son of a powerful Baptist minister. After graduating from Morehouse College in 1948, he studied theology at Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania and Boston University. After receiving his graduate degree, he became the pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama, where he emerged as a civil rights leader.
King saw religion as a vehicle for effective social change, and merged his religious views with those of non-violent predecessors such as Mohandas Gandhi to develop his own non-violent method of protest. He established six principles of non-violence to which he encouraged his adherents to aspire [see below]. In King’s view, non-violence was “the sword that heals” rather than destroys, and he used non-violence to expose the absurdity of violence.
Employing non-violence, King was a popular civil rights leader long before coming to Chicago. He founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957 and became its founding president. In that role, he brought civil rights to the forefront of national attention with campaigns against segregation in Albany, Georgia, Birmingham, Alabama, and St. Augustine, Florida. At a 1963 rally in Washington, D.C., King spoke to over 200,000 people and presented his dream for a color-blind society. He was highly successful in showing the immorality of segregation in the South and enlisting support for the movement throughout the country.
Having been extremely successful in combating Jim Crow practices in the South, King turned to the North with the SCLC’s People-to-People tour in 1965, in an attempt to assess the extent of segregation in Northern cities and choose a location for a new campaign. He settled on Chicago because of the support of the established local movement, Chicago’s political landscape, and the fact that practitioners of non-violent direct action like James Bevel and Bernard LaFayette were already organizing in Chicago. After enlisting partners in Chicago, King moved into an apartment at 1550 South Hamlin Avenue in North Lawndale, in Chicago’s West Side. Although he only lived part time in Chicago, King often took to the streets of his new neighborhood to meet its inhabitants and understand the conditions of Chicago’s slums.
The leaders of the Chicago Freedom Movement collectively decided that ending slums should be their initial focus. In February 1966, King announced that the Chicago movement had assumed “trusteeship” of an apartment building after learning about a sick baby who had been living in an unheated, run-down apartment buildings at 1321 South Homan Avenue. On July 10, 1966, King officially launched his direct action campaign to end slums at a large rally at Soldier Field, which was attended by over thirty-thousand people. The campaign continued with a series of marches through predominately white communities such as Gage Park and Chicago Lawn. These marches infuriated many inhabitants in those neighborhoods. During a march through Marquette Park and Chicago Lawn, a rock “as big as [a] fist” [Ralph 123] was thrown at King’s head and knocked him over.
After several more marches, and plans by several in the movement to march through the hard-nosed nearby city of Cicero, the site of a fierce race riot in 1951, King agreed to attend a negotiating summit organized by the Chicago Conference on Religion and Race (CCRR). After two weeks of discussion of the problem of Chicago’s ghettoes, and commitments on behalf of Chicago’s government, religious, business, and real estate leaders, King and other protest leaders called for an end to the tense housing marches.
After the Chicago Freedom Movement, the rise of Black militants weakened King’s power in the civil rights movement. While he would never again achieve the success he had seen before his move to Chicago, he continued to organize civil rights campaigns, including the Poor People’s Campaign of 1967-68. On April 3, 1968, while working with striking sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee, King was shot and killed by white segregationist James Earl Ray.
The Six Principles of Kingian Non-Violence
1. Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people. First it must be emphasized that nonviolence is not a method for cowards; it does resist.
2. The beloved community is the goal. The aftermath of nonviolence is the creation of the beloved community, while the aftermath of violence is tragic bitterness.
3. Attack the forces of evil not the people during evil. It is the evil that the nonviolent resister seeks to defeat, not the persons victimized by evil.
4. Accept suffering without retaliation for the sake of the cause to achieve a goal. Suffering, the nonviolent resister realizes has tremendous educational and transforming possibilities.
5. Avoid internal violence of the spirit as well as external physical violence. The nonviolent resister not only refuses to shoot his opponent but he also refuses to hate him.
6. The universe is on the side of justice. I am convinced that the universe is under the control of a loving purpose, and that in the struggle for righteousness man has cosmic companionship.
Richard J. Daley was the extremely powerful Democratic mayor of Chicago who was determined to control the Chicago Freedom Movement before it unlocked his political machine's grip on the city. Daley was born in a working class neighborhood of Chicago, and worked his way through night school at DePaul University, where he obtained a law degree in 1934. Daley quickly rose through the political ranks, first as a state representative, then senator, and other state positions. He became the chairman of the Cook County Democratic Central Committee in 1953 and was elected mayor in 1955.
A powerful mayor and party chief, Daley was re-elected every four years for two decades, until his death. He mastered a patronage system, making use of city employees to bring out the vote and re-elect him. During his term as mayor, Daley was committed to strengthening Chicago’s downtown. He oversaw the construction of several large skyscrapers including Sears tower, the country’s tallest building. Daley was known as an expert negotiator, ending more than twenty strikes through negotiation, a tactic he would attempt to use during the Chicago Freedom Movement.
Daley felt threatened by the prospect of a civil rights movement in Chicago, and reacted by altering city policy to appease the demands of the movement before they arrived. Daley publicized his own campaign to end slums, and in early 1966 city officials stepped up their efforts against slumlords and dilapidated housing. By July of 1966, Daley’s regime had “demolished 1,409 abandoned buildings and had brought 9,226 other buildings containing 102,847 dwelling units into compliance with city housing codes.” [Ralph 86]
The open-housing marches led by Martin Luther King, Jr. and other movement organizers, and the white response to them, greatly worried Mayor Daley on a personal level. On August 9, 1966, he announced that he would “meet with anyone and do anything to prevent what is happening to our city.” [Ralph 130] When protesters continued to march through white areas and demand open housing, eliciting a violent response from white communities, Daley decided to seek an injunction against the marchers in order to force them to limit their marches. "It is to protect the lives; and property of all the people, Negroes and whites, that we have asked the court not to stop but to regulate to a reasonable degree the street demonstrations," he said. He stressed that he asked for injunction because he was "faced with the dilemma of balancing right. . ." On one hand," the mayor explained, "there was the constitutional right of petition, and on the other the constitutional right of safety of person." [Newspaper article]
He successfully convinced movement leaders to negotiate with him and the Chicago business community as an alternative to protesting in the streets. After two weeks of negotiations, all parties agreed on terms that would end the open-housing marches. Some civil rights activists ignored the summit agreement and marched into Cicero in September 1966, but the settlement marked an end to the open-housing campaign of the Chicago Freedom movement.
Two years later, Chicago was thrown into turmoil by the Democratic National Convention. The city’s police suppression of anti-war protesters exposed the vast power of Daley’s regime. Despite national criticism, Daley's political popularity in Chicago remained strong.
While his stance on the Chicago Freedom Movement cannot be considered exemplary, he was quick to offer marchers police protection, and to work with them to settle their demands. King once asserted, “I’m not leading any campaign against Mayor Daley – I’m leading a campaign against the slums.” Daley’s subsequent re-election as mayor and continuing tributes to his mayoralty reveal that neither the Chicago Freedom Movement nor the Democratic National Convention episode permanently tarnished his reputation as a fair and effective mayor.
Tony Henry was a critical figure in the organizing of the Chicago Freedom Movement on the West Side. He was a highly regarded field officer for the American Friends Service Committee during the 1960s. He died in January 2008 and the Houston Chronicle carried the following obituary:
ANTHONY RAY HENRY, 69 of Houston, passed away January 9, 2008. He was born August 14, 1938 to Lawrence Gene and Autry Thomas Henry. Anthony was saved at an early age and baptized at the Pleasant Grove Baptist Church in Houston, Texas. He attended elementary schools in Houston and Boston. The family moved to California during his middle school years and returned to Houston where Anthony graduated from Phyllis Wheatley High School. Anthony received a Worthing scholarship to attend any college or university in the United States. He chose to use the scholarship for the beginning of integration of the University of Texas at Austin undergraduate school. Four years later, he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree and received another scholarship to begin work on a Masters degree. In 1961, he received his Masters of Education degree at Springfield College. Anthony pursued his passion for humanitarian services working for the American Friends Service Committee from 1961 to 2001. He traveled worldwide and worked for two years in East Africa on community development projects. He coordinated transportation and food for the Martin Luther King "tent city" until King's death. He received an award from President Richard Nixon for his work in organizing the National Tenant Organization. Leaving the American Friends did not cause Anthony to cease his work to aid mankind. He continued to share his expansive knowledge with the Tenant Action Group. He served as the Chief of Staff with the Church of the Advocate in Philadelphia until December 2007. Anthony had many wonderful experiences throughout the world. He leaves to cherish his memory, his mother Autry Henry; sister Gloria Houston and brother, Douglas Henry and a host of nieces, nephews, and cousins. A Service celebrating Anthony's life will be held at 2:00pm Saturday, January 12th at Niday Funeral Home, with visitation one hour prior to the Service. Interment will follow at Forest Lawn Cemetery.