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Freedom Summer Backstory: This Non Violent Stuff'll Get You Killed


In 1962, with funds provided by the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), Charlie Cobb boarded a bus in Washington D.C and headed to Houston, Texas to attend a civil rights workshop. At a stopover in Jackson, Mississippi, he contacted the local Student Non Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) group. Activist Lawrence Guyot persuaded him to stay and contribute to the organizing efforts already underway. Five years on the ground in Mississippi between 1962 and 1967 gave Cobb a perspective few historians have. His book, This Non Violent Stuff'll Get You Killed offers a thorough backstory for the events surrounding what became known as Freedom Summer. A SNCC field secretary in Ruleville, Mississippi, he wrote the prospectus for what became the Freedom Schools—the heart of the effort to build the base of black voters in the state.

This Non Violent Stuff'll Get You Killed describes the roots of the Southern Freedom Movement, details the gun culture of the South in the 1950s and 1960s and brings into the light, people and organizations often neglected in the history of the civil rights movement.

Cobb is a founding member of the National Association of Black Journalists. He has worked for NPR and as a correspondent for the PBS program Frontline. He was the first black staff writer for National Geographic Magazine. He is a senior analyst at allAfrica.com and Visiting Professor of Africana Studies at Brown University.