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 excited about the Civil Rights move as a complete.

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

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This was particularly true when it came to responses to arrest and imprisonment. In the majority of sit-in campaigns, arrest was seen simply as a natural consequence of openly challenging racial segregation. Although protesters often celebrated those who had been arrested, they rarely sought to push this further in the early days of the sit-ins. It was only with the formation of the Student Nonviolent Jail-No-Bail! | 25 Coordinating Committee in April 1960 that the concept of a Gandhian response to arrest—one which embraced imprisonment as a mark of honor, accompanied by a refusal to post bail—was brought to the fore.

The following day they returned 24 with reinforcements from campus and repeated their protest. 2 News of the Greensboro sit-ins soon spread to neighboring towns and states, where black college students followed their example. 4 The sheer number of arrests alone made the sit-in protests a truly revolutionary moment in the history of the southern civil rights struggle. The question of how to deal with mass arrest and imprisonment had been debated within civil rights circles for many years. Those who favored nonviolent protest knew that the nature of their response to legal repression could make the difference between success and failure.

The Congress of Racial Equality was deeply conscious of the competition it faced from SCLC and SNCC. Lacking the charismatic leadership of King and unable to display the same militant energies of SNCC, CORE viewed leadership of a massive jail-in campaign as an opportunity to stand out from the pack. In August 1960, CORE sponsored the second Miami Action Institute, which attracted a large number of southern college students. At the top of the discussion agenda was the jail-in. In many respects, the Institute was a great success for CORE.

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