John Churchville

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Opinions about the best strategy for winning civil rights for African-Americans in the 1950s and 1960s were almost as numerous as the many leaders in the struggle. Activist and black nationalist John Churchville knew that as well as anyone. Known best as the founder of the Freedom Library Day School in his native Philadelphia, Churchville found himself at the crossroads of many intra-racial struggles during the Freedom Movement. Though a student of Malcolm X and black nationalism, he joined the integrationist-minded Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) to register and work with voters in Georgia and Mississippi, often finding himself at odds with SNCC leadership. But differing philosophies weren’t only the bastion of high-minded civil rights leaders. As he explains in this story, sometimes the fight was taken to the streets.


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