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Extra resources for Many Minds, One Heart: SNCC's Dream for a New America

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62 The sit-ins also spurred the creation of new cultural forms, especially songs. The first time Albany State College student Bernice Johnson marched around City Hall in Albany, Georgia, to protest segregation, she realized that she had walked on Pine Street only once before.

Yet Lawson’s example demonstrated a new way to claim the respect and dignity that segregation systematically denied them. Furthermore, it offered the prospect of doing so without engaging in physical violence. 30 In political terms, the Lawson workshops allowed individuals to move from private talk to public action — again and again. The choices they shared together — whether or not to risk injury or death by engaging in the The Nonviolent Anvil 23 sit-ins — would be difficult to understand for those who did not participate in these workshops.

10 A standout in this group was a student of Smith’s at American Baptist named John Lewis. Lewis, an earnest and devout young man from rural Alabama, drew closer to Lawson because Lawson served as a field secretary for the FOR. Lewis had been impressed by the pamphlet FOR had published a year earlier on King and the Montgomery bus boycott. It explained how nonviolent action could desegregate public facilities in the South. ” Lay people, including women, joined the group, and together they surveyed the needs of Nashville’s black community.

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