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Feeding the Revolution in in Leflore County Mississippi

Feeding the Revolution in in Leflore County Mississippi

Bringing home ground corn meal, 1939, Courtesy of Library of Congres

Bringing home ground corn meal, 1939, Courtesy of Library of Congres

In 1963, SNCC organized a voter registration drive among African-Americans in Leflore County Mississippi in the Mississippi Delta. Slowly a number of African-Americans began heading up at the County Courthouse to register to vote. In retaliation members of the White Citizens Council, which controlled local politics moved to end the distribution of needed federal surplus food commodities to 22,000 Leflore County citizens —the lion share of them for African-Americans, poor whites or Choctaw Indians. By January 1963 starvation conditions push SNCC organizer on the ground in Leflore County, Sam Block and Wazir Peacock to inform SNCC headquarters in Atlanta that the people’s need for food and other essentials had become so critical that “they now want to go register” to vote. Historian Charles Payne writes, the food blockade put some African Americans citizens in a position “where they no longer had anything to lose by trying to register.” It made clear a point that SNCC activist and other workers had tried to articulate to the disenfranchised in the county, a link existed between a lack of political power and poverty. It also gave young SNCC activists the opportunity to demonstrate their organizing skills

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Fred Opie Show Podcast

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