Interview with Robert Moses
QUESTION 18
INTERVIEWER:

EXPLAIN TO ME THE CONCERNS THAT WERE RAISED ABOUT WHEN STUDENTS AND WHITE STUDENTS WENT TO WORK IN MISSISSIPPI.

Robert Moses:

There had grown a concern within SNCC and the movement about the involvement of white students in the Deep South as actual organizers and workers in the field. This was first demonstrated in southwest Georgia, and I remember in Greenwood when we were working there in '62. Martha Prescott and Jean Wheeler, who had been working in southwest Georgia and were two young black girls, left that project and came to Mississippi because of the presence of too many white people who were working there. And they mirrored a kind of concern which existed within the Mississippi staff which was predominantly people who grew up and lived in Mississippi, were from Mississippi, had spent their lives in, under the Mississippi condition which was strict segregation and really living in this closed society. So they had very little working contact with white people, and they weren't anxious to introduce them into the project which they viewed as, and rightly so, as their project, their effort, something which they had created out of nothing really and at great risk to themselves. So they had voted down the attempt in SNCC, in 1963 in the beginning of 1963, to introduce white people into Mississippi as part of the Mississippi staff. And then when the Freedom Vote came and the question arose of bringing in the volunteers, they reluctantly agreed, since they were going along with the campaign, with what Aaron Henry and Ed King wanted, and since they knew that it was only going to last for a couple of weeks. That is the volunteers from Yale and from Stamford would be coming down for a couple of weeks, would be working with them, mobilizing the vote, and then they would be gone.