Requiem for a Dream
By Lynne Olson. Scribner. 460 pp. $30
Reviewed by David J. Garrow
For years, historians slighted the contributions of women to the civil rights movement. It was the women of black Montgomery who instigated the famous mu ni ci p a l bus boycott of 1955–56, for instance, but until the late 1980s historians credited the city’s black ministers and other male activists. Although black women have been the most overlooked, scholars have also given short shrift to white women—including the idealistic young white women who worked in the early 1960s for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the most important if not the most heralded of the southern civil rights groups. Now nine of those women, led by Sandra Cason "Casey" Hayden, have joined together to publish thei r i n dividual recollections. Deep in Our Hearts i s a richly emotional and sometimes quite moving document, a tale of optimism, hope, and, u l t i m a t e l y, di s i l l u s i o n m e n t . "Our book," they write, "is about girls growing up in a revolutionary time." Most of them became active in SNCC in their late teens or early twenties. They found themselves in a small, close-knit, and warmly supportive organization, albeit one in which most white women were assigned office work rather than field organizing—in dangerous rural counties, the presence of white female activists would have further inflamed violent segregationi s t s .
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