Ain't Scared of Your Jail: Arrest, Imprisonment, and the by Zoe A. Colley

By Zoe A. Colley

An exploration of the influence on imprisonment of people considering the Civil Rights flow as a complete.

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Additional info for Ain't Scared of Your Jail: Arrest, Imprisonment, and the Civil Rights Movement

Example text

Given that the police, courts, and jails were the principle guardians of the Jim Crow South, the movement had to help African Americans overcome their fear of arrest and imprisonment. 20 The jail experience is the most important example of how the idea of freedom was deployed by the movement; and—to return to 30 | Ain’t Scared of Your Jail the Afro-American—the black press was a crucial vehicle for communicating this transformation. The sit-in movement reached Orangeburg, South Carolina, in late February.

You learn the truth in prison, you learn wholeness. ”9 Talk of jail-ins and the ongoing arrest of protesters left the NAACP struggling to bridge the growing gulf between itself and the proponents of mass direct action. In February 1961, the organization finally sought to establish a policy on how members should respond to arrest. The NAACP would continue with its policy “of defending . . persons against prosecution and . . supplying . . bail while their cases were . . ” In contrast to SNCC, CORE, and SCLC, the NAACP not only urged “bail not jail,” but it also proposed that remaining in jail could be harmful to the freedom struggle: “there is a grave danger that the individual, by his failure .

This sentiment was expressed most clearly by James Lawson at the Shaw University Conference, when he attacked the NAACP as a “black bourgeois club” and “a fund-raising agency,” while also calling for an elite corps of volunteers dedicated to remaining in jail. 50 King, keen to maintain a working relationship with the NAACP, accepted Lawson’s resignation. In excess of fifteen hundred protesters were arrested as part of the sit-in movement. 51 Passing through the jailhouse door had become a form of induction into the movement.

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