Interview with Bob Mants

OK, Bob. Now I heard that SNCC saw Lowndes County as a test case. I wanted to know, because they said that something different was happening here. And I'm really asking the questions why that SNCC did come into Lowndes--


I've heard SNCC saw Lowndes County as something different, as a test case, and I wanted to know from you why SNCC first decided to come to Lowndes County.


Well, prior to 1965, SNCC had had, ah, staff members in Alabama. But then, the staff was small, ah, Lowndes County had the reputation of being the most violent, ah, county in the State of Alabama. It had a hu- long history of violence and, and um, of repression. Ah, when we first, when Stokely Carmichael and I came to, ah, Alabama, we came, ah, to participate, ah, be a part in and around the Selma to Montgomery march. It was in Selma that we decided that we wanted to tackle Lowndes County. I had just come from, ah, South Georgia, working there with SNCC. And Carmichael came over from, ah, Mississippi. Ah, not so much as, as in a past case, but in other places the Civil Rights Movement for the most part had been built around students, young people. Here was an opportunity, especially with the voting rights act, ah, in, ah, passage in the in the making, ah, it would seem to us that it would be a lot more appropriate to deal with those, that group of people who were able to register their vote. And they were not youth to that time. Ah, so this, ah, I think was a major contributing factor to our coming into Lowndes County. And the abject fear that Black people had here.