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Admit That the Waters Around You Have Grown: Change and Legal Education

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Title: Admit That the Waters Around You Have Grown: Change and Legal Education
Authors: Matsuda, Mari J.
Issue Date: 25 Sep 2013
Publisher: Indiana Law Journal
Citation: Matsuda, M. Admit That the Waters Around You Have Grown: Change and Legal Education. 89 Ind. L.J. 1381 2014
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Abstract: Young civil rights workers began registering voters in Lowndes County, Alabama, in February 1965. Their work disrupted a century-old bargain between northern and southern elites that allowed the firm hand of Jim Crow to close its grip on the American South. Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) members are the "New Abolitionists," as Howard Zinn called them.' They wanted to finish the work the Thirteenth Amendment started, ending the badges and incidents of slavery and bringing the descendants of the enslaved to full citizenship. Just as the first reconstruction met burning crosses and lynch mobs, so does this second. The Klan, not needed when Jim Crow was firmly in control, was riding again. My students read of this period in Taylor Branch's At Canaan's Edge.2 Today's chapter finds a group of organizers, younger than my students, attending a service in a small, isolated Black church in rural Alabama.3 Suddenly, the church is surrounded by cars. There is no way to exit without running this gantlet of strangers and, given the recent assaults upon civil rights workers, the appearance of Klansmen in the dark of night is a clear promise of violence.4 At this point, one of my students says, "All I could think of was, my God, they didn't even have cell phones." She realizes this was a ridiculous thought when she adds, "but who would they call?" We already know from the history we have read that the police and the Klan are one and the same, and that the feds are hundreds of miles away debating whether they even want to get involved at all. I empathized with her reaction: "I know, I needed them to have someone to call, too."
Pages/Duration: 20 pages
Appears in Collections:Matsuda, Mari J.

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