Like A Holy Crusade

Overview

The year 1964 produced a watershed in American race relations. In one of the civil rights movement's most dramatic initiatives, thousands of Northern white college students were recruited to come south that summer in an effort to "break" Mississippi and secure voting rights for its black citizens. Nicolaus Mills traces the history of this Summer Project, including its origins and aftermath, and shows in detail how its consequences involved not only great victories but also violence (the murders of Michael ...
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Overview

The year 1964 produced a watershed in American race relations. In one of the civil rights movement's most dramatic initiatives, thousands of Northern white college students were recruited to come south that summer in an effort to "break" Mississippi and secure voting rights for its black citizens. Nicolaus Mills traces the history of this Summer Project, including its origins and aftermath, and shows in detail how its consequences involved not only great victories but also violence (the murders of Michael Schwerner, James Chaney, and Andrew Goodman, among other events) and disillusion. His persuasive argument is that the noble quest for racial solidarity turned bitter and divisive in practice, climaxed by the Democratic party's rejection of the Mississippi Freedom Democrats at the 1964 national convention. In the rush of black anger that followed, the gains of the summer were forgotten and Black Power was born—and blacks went their separate way in trying to achieve equality in America. Relations between whites and blacks took a crucial turning which continues powerfully to influence our politics and social well-being today.
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Editorial Reviews

New York Times Book Review
Extremely readable and fair-minded.
New York Newsday
A stirring and saddening book...Mills has given us a useable model for heroism.
— Samuel G. Freedman
Chicago Tribune
Mills has shunned the comfort of the myth and reminded us that the struggle was terrifying, ugly, magnificent and confusing...a moving account.
New York Times
Extremely readable and fair-minded.
The New York Times
Extremely readable and fair-minded.
Booklist
Like a romance novel of the 'had I but known' variety, this overview of the development, operation, and aftermath of the Mississippi Summer Project in 1964 is a 'had they but known' history. Mills...declares his purpose ('to see what meaning the Summer Project has for us at a time when conservatives and liberals seem united in their gloom about race relations') and his conviction that 'the real tragedy of the Mississippi SUmmer Project is not that it failed but that so many of its participants gave up on it before its triumphs became clear.' As they planned for the movement of 1,000 white, northern college students to Mississippi; trained volunteers; coped with the sudden disappearance of Goodman, Chaney, and Schwerner; set up Freedom Schools, voter registration programs, and the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party; and evaluated the project's effectiveness, the SNCC members who staffed it were driven by events. With the benefit of hindsight, they (and the volunteers, and even the Democratic Party)might have made some decisions differently. A thoughtful and fascinating addition to larger 1960s and race relations collections.
Reference and Research Book News
Mills traces the history of the Mississippi Summer PRoject of 1964, from its origins to its aftermath, and shows in detail how its consequences involved not only great victories but also violence. . .and disillusion.
Reader's Review
Mills tells the story of a pivotal time in the Civil Rights Movement, the Mississippi Summer Project where blacks and whites together risked their lives in order to force the issue of equal civil rights. Mills tells this courageous story so we will not forget what important gains were won with such cooperation. Trade, recent history, civil rights, libraries. Rating: Fine.
Newsday - Samuel G. Freedman
A stirring and saddening book...Mills has given us a usable model for heroism.
David J. Garrow
A clear and marvelously evocative account of one of modern America's most courageous and inspiring undertakings.
Irving Howe
A strong and vivid account...in these pages, history comes alive...a very fine book.
Chicago Tribune
Mills…shunned the comfort of…myth…reminded us that the struggle was terrifying, ugly, magnificent and confusing...a moving account.
New York Times Book Review
Extremely readable and fair-minded.
Samuel G. Freedman
A stirring and saddening book...Mills has given us a useable model for heroism.
New York Newsday
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In 1964, 1000 white college students were recruited, chiefly by the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), to travel to Mississippi and register African Americans to vote. In this taut, well-researched history of the summer project, as it came to be called, Mills ( The Great School Bus Controversy ), drawing on interviews with participants, brings to life the spirit of that idealistic time when, despite tensions between the well-off white volunteers and the poor black project staff, all worked together for social justice. The summer began tragically with the murders of civil rights workers Michael Schwerner, James Chaney and Andrew Goodman, and closed with the rejection of the Mississippi Freedom Party by the 1964 Democratic National Convention, effectively ending an integrated SNCC and leading to the Black Power movement. (Sept.)
Library Journal
Mills (American studies, Sarah Lawrence Coll.) has written a readable, compelling account of Mississippi Freedom Summer. He argues convincingly that the summer of 1964 was a turning point in the Civil Rights movement in two senses. First, the combination of interracial cooperation and white violence helped speed the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and create widespread Northern support for the movement. Secondly, and ironically, the Democratic Party's failure to fully seat black Mississippi delegates at the 1964 convention confirmed and exacerbated many black civil rights workers' suspicions of whites. This marked the real beginning of a split between white liberals and black activists. Still, the coalition between blacks and whites that summer serves as an example of racial common ground. An excellent work; highly recommended for all libraries.-- Anthony O. Edmonds, Ball State Univ., Muncie, Ind.
Booknews
Mills traces the history of the Mississippi Summer Project of 1964, from its origins to its aftermath, and shows in detail how its consequences involved not only great victories but also violence (the murders of Michael Schwerner, James Cheney, and Andrew Goodman, among other events) and disillusion. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781566630269
  • Publisher: Ivan R Dee
  • Publication date: 6/25/1993
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 228
  • Product dimensions: 5.64 (w) x 8.52 (h) x 0.69 (d)

Meet the Author

Nicolaus Mills’ other books include Culture in an Age of Money (also published by Ivan R. Dee), The New Journalism, and The Crowd in American Literature. He teaches American Studies at Sarah Lawrence College.
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Table of Contents

Part 1 Acknowledgements 9 Part 2 Introduction: Like a Holy Crusade 15 Part 3 Burn Jim Crow to the Ground 27 Part 4 Tremor in the Iceberg 42 Part 5 Nobody's Cannon Fodder 66 Part 6 Open the Eyes of the Nation 77 Part 7 There May Be More Deaths 94 Part 8 The Magnolia Jungle 105 Part 9 Pinto Beans and Politics 120 Part 10 No Two Seats 139 Part 11 Loose Ends 165 Part 12 Mississippi Revisited 184 Part 13 A Note on Sources 194 Part 14 Notes 196 Part 15 Index 217
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