scott @ Mon, 2005-01-24 00:32
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.