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Wednesdays in MississippiProper Ladies Working for Radical Change, Freedom Summer 1964$
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Debbie Z. Harwell

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781628460957

Published to University Press of Mississippi: May 2015

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781628460957.001.0001

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date: 23 February 2019

Plotting Their Course

Plotting Their Course

(p.46) Chapter Three Plotting Their Course
Wednesdays in Mississippi

Debbie Z. Harwell

University Press of Mississippi

Chapter Three details how Dorothy Height and Polly Cowan organized and implemented their plan to consciously exploit the team members’ gender, age, and class to effect change. Having realized from their earlier Selma trip that their appearance as upper-class women had been their main protection in a racially tense situation, Cowan suggested the NCNW send teams of northern women from the “Cadillac crowd” who were beyond reproach, and therefore somewhat protected by their status as middle- and upper-class, middle-aged women. The many logistical elements for making the program work—completed in just two months’ time—such as staffing, housing, transportation, security, funding, education, local contacts, and more are discussed. The chapter discusses who volunteered to make the trip, their motivations for participating, and how they reacted to the potential dangers involved.

Keywords:   Gender, Middle-aged, Middle-class, Motivation, Women volunteers

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