Interview with John Lewis

Lets stop there.

JAMES a. DeVINNEY By the summer of 1965, within SNCC there seemed to be some major questions being raised about relations between Blacks and Whites in the organization. I wonder if you can kind of talk to why there were such questions, and what your position was in the midst of all that.


In the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, ah, the summer of 1965, ah, coming on the heel of the assassination of Malcolm, after the Democratic convention, after many people had returned from Africa, I think there was a growing sense of ah, Black awareness, it was a sense that the organization, not just SNCC, but the Civil Rights Movement, had to take on a different role. Ah, I continued as the chairman of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, to preach the possibility of creating a truly interracial democracy. Ah, in SNCC during those days, I think many of us believed in the idea of a circle of trust and, and a band of brothers. I think some of us felt at the time that the only real and true integration that existed in the American society was within the Civil Rights Movement itself. Ah, however, and in spite of the feeling that people, Blacks and Whites, struggling together, going to jail together, in, in many instances being beaten together, and, and some of our colleagues dying together, there was a sense, this feeling, that somehow and someway this movement must be more Black dominated and Black led.