Interview with Stokley Carmichael

Why is it important that SNCC organize Tent City?


Tent City was organized, of course this was just experience that SNCC had had from years before. I think we had done it as early as, if my memory correctly serves me, you can check it, I think Forman had done it as early in Nash—in Tennessee outside of Tennessee with, so we'd already set up tent cities before. Tent City was set up because the sharecroppers, who were voting, were being expelled from their land. And the hope was by the terrorist white land holders that by expelling they would leave the county, being capable of voting, and would represent an intimidation for the rest of the voters. Well we recognized this and they had to stay. We had some people who were strong in character and strong without afraid of injustice or terror. And they allowed the expelled sharecroppers to live on their land. So, we set up tent cities again for those who were expelled to either declare to the terrorists that we had no intention of moving from Lowndes County. The fight was going to be joined here and we were going to win the battle on the terrain of Lowndes County.