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I. How the Power Structure works

A.        Interlocking power—how the establishment gets established.

Political power and interest groups (White Citizen’s Councils) Enforcement and perpetuation of power—police, sovereignty commission, etc. (briefly)

B.         Economic Basis

            Corporate structure—Northern businesses and corporations in the South. Dependence on whites of poorer Negroes (Delta sharecroppers, school teachers, etc.)

            Mississippi financial situation—vulnerable point.

C.        Relationship with federal government

            Rel. is often favorable (e.g. Eastland’s committee—influence of federal judiciary)

            Fed. power is frustrated if it does not act favorably (e.g. Jamie Whitten’s tractor deal.) Business of federal program in general.

            Limits of such use of federal govt.

D.        Use of power to meet challenges (cf. South Africa and Nazi Germany)

            Political:            new state laws

                                    fight against the national civil rights bill

                                    freedom rides and sit-ins—use of police power

            Informal, social pressure (local white terror tactics)

                                    McComb bus station

                                    murder of Medgar Evers

                                    shooting of Jimmy Travis, etc.

            Economic         Fayette County


                                    mass reprisals in canton


II. Study of the provisions of the Civil Rights bill—in view of the above, what are the prospects for it? What will its effects be in Miss.?

            Opposition to bill:         intrastate politics—Wallace’s “presidential campaign”

Interest groups—Miss. Sovereignty Commission, Fundamental American Freedoms group.

Opposition in Congress itself—role of public opinion on that


III. COFO Political Programs—for study of political system

A.        COFO convention challenge—political parties, national conventions. Platform—cf. Democratic and COFO platforms.

B.         Freedom Registration and Freedom Days—role and meaning of voting. Power of bloc voting.

C.        CR bill—whole legislative process—committee system, seniority system, party system, lobbies, rules (filibuster, cloture, etc.)

D.        Freedom candidates (Mrs. Hamer’s campaign)—What politicians are like—how to tell a good one from a bad one (quotes from CR debate—excerpts from Miss. Delegation speeches, Russell’s relocation plan, etc.) cf. good congressmen and COFO Freedom Candidates.


IV John Hardy case—case for study of Court system

            injustices in Miss. law enforcement

            federal versus state courts—aspect of federal intervention

            appellate processes

            importance of precedent

            What is legislation good for? What not?


V. Hazard, KY,—case for study of economic problems

            Automation—two kinds (Hazard and the Miss. Delta)

Poverty—poor whites (Hazard) poor Southern rural Negroes (Fayette and delta),

Poor Northern urban dwellers (ghettoes). Chances of Coalition. Problem of other minorities in cities.

Organized labor (Birmingham labor organization (?)) cf. CR and labor movements—historical parallels, songs, etc.


VI. Education

            A.        Schools

                        School boycotts in Hattiesburg and Canton—segregated schools

Northern schools boycotts—problems of Northern ghettoes, de facto segregation, etc. Chicago’s relationship to Miss.—comparison

Evaluation of Mississippi schools—kid’s own textbooks, example of Steptoe’s son (?)

            B. Mass media—news coverage of the movement

Publicity skills—how bias works (Local and national press coverage of local demonstrations)

Press releases—how to write, where to release

Freedom of the Press, north and south

Power of the Press. Importance of ministers and students from North

International implications of racial discrimination—Monroe “kissing case”, Medgar Evers.


VII. Opposition to the Power structure—Movement stuff





The document is from:

SNCC, The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee Papers, 1959-1972 (Sanford, NC: Microfilming Corporation of America, 1982) Reel 67, File 340, Page 0999.

The original papers are at the King Library and Archives, The Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, Atlanta, GA