Thelwell was active in the non-violent Civil Rights Movement, participating in the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP
All the MFDP
would get would be the symbolic presence of
Johnson's proposed solution to the MFDP
compromise established the centralizing principle that henceforth the national party agencies would decide not only how many votes each state delegation got at the national convention, but also would enforce uniform rules on what kinds of persons could be selected (Milkis 1993, 210-16).
This necessity for local political organization is the idea behind the MFDP
. Started by COFO (Council of Federated Organizations) in the Summer 1964, the MFDP
has become the largest civil rights group in the state.
In the meantime, NSM had deepened its involvement with the MFDP
and its Congressional Challenge to three targeted white Mississippi Congressmen who had won their Congressional seats by depriving black Mississippians of their right to vote, a violation of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments.
Rauh once described to an interviewer the moment, during the Democratic Convention credentials fight in 1964, when he felt the full consolidated force of those arrayed against the MFDP
: "You had the whole Democratic political machine, the President, the whole White House, and the whole labor movement, all trying to stop a few little Mississippi negroes and me from making a little stink at the Democratic Convention." Those opponents, of course, included many of Rauh's closest allies and colleagues (and in the case of Walter Reuther, a key patron).
It was then, during the early spring of 1964, that she was first approached about getting involved in the newly formed Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP
(86.) For the MFDP
see especially Kay Mills, This Little Light of Mine: The Life of Fannie Lou Hamer (New York: Plume Books, 1994).
But of course he was only three years old and living in Hawaii when Lyndon Johnson went on national television to give a speech so that Hamer's image and the MFDP
challenge would be off the airwaves.
Narrator E: In the spring of 1964, Fannie Lou joins the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP
It seems common to consider the MFDP
as a group of uneducated farmers or unlettered peasants, yet it was this party and these people who put their lives on the line in one of the most courageous acts of African political expression.
These are images that the media popularized and that became entrenched in the cultural imagination notwithstanding the central historical role that organizations based in the South, such as the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP
) of Jackson, Mississippi, and the Lowndes County Freedom Organization (LCFO) of Lowndes County, Alabama, played in the origination and implementation of black power ideology.