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Cover for I've Got the Light of Freedom

I've Got the Light of Freedom

The Organizing Tradition and the Mississippi Freedom Struggle, With a New Preface

Charles M. Payne


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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.

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

"Not a comprehensive history of the civil rights movement in Mississippi, this thoughtful study instead analyzes the legacy of community organizing there. . . . Concentrating on the delta city of Greenwood, he offers useful profiles of local activists, showing that many came from families with traditions of social involvement or defiance. He also explores the disproportionate number of female volunteers, the older black generation's complex interactions with whites and the decline of organizing as the 1960s proceeded."
— Publishers Weekly

"An illuminating examination of the Civil Rights movement at the local level, in this case Greenwood, Mississippi, in the 1960s. As Payne deftly grafts Greenwood's struggle onto the larger movement, he challenges several widely accepted conclusions, such as overemphasizing a core cadre of male leaders while overlooking the important contributions of women and youth and the belief that the black church was an early leader in the movement. Much of Payne's information is culled from oral interviews with actual movement participants. The result is an important history of the Civil Rights movement at the grass-roots level . . . The excellent bibliographic essay is essential reading. Recommended for any library that collects Civil Rights materials."
— Library Journal

University of California Press, 9780520251762, 552pp.

Publication Date: March 16, 2007

About the Author

Charles M. Payne is Professor and Bass Fellow, African American Studies, History and Sociology, Duke University