Dear Friends (aka About This Website...)
This website started after a conversation with Dr. Nishani Frazier and her friend Zaheer Ali, then a PhD student who had been the project manager for Prof. Manning Marable's biography of Malcolm X. Coincidentally we were at a restaurant on 116th street right across from the Masjid Malcolm Shabazz (the former Temple #7).
After listening to us go back and forth about our own research on CORE and about how every other major social protest group from the NAACP to the Black Panther Party had something in place to keep their legacy going, Ali axed why CORE did not.
Much of this has to do with Roy Innis and the fact that the overwhelming majority of CORE people from the 1940's to the 'sixties' want nothing to do with CORE since he became national chairman. The actions of Innis over the years have done irreparable damage to the reputation of CORE. He is widely credited with simultaneously destroying CORE and turning it into his own personal fiefdom.
Both Frazier and Ali were at the 50th anniversary conference for SNCC and I was already aware of the SNCC Legacy Project. Why could there not be something similar for CORE? There was too much great work that the CORE people had done over the years to see it just go to waste and CORE was falling to the wayside of history.
CORE Gets No Props
The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) was one of the largest and most influential organizations of the Black freedom movement in the United States. The pioneers of the non-violent direct action philosophy that has come to characterize the civil rights movement, CORE in many ways also represents the roots of Black Power. It influenced all the other social protest groups that followed, from the SCLC to SNCC, the Black Panthers, Young Lords, even Al Sharpton's National Action Network. CORE's tactics were borrowed by these groups and many others and made their own. Its influence can even be seen in the various Occupy Wall Street protests throughout the country.
The majority of its membership were in the North but ironically CORE is known mostly for its work down south. Up until recently its national office was headquartered in New York City. It moved to Las Vegas in 2013.
Many of those who participated in its educational, employment and housing projects after leaving CORE became local leaders as politicians, union heads and directors of municipal agencies. This history demonstrates that the civil rights movement was not just something exclusive to the south. CORE out of all the major civil rights organizations has been understudied in general, especially when it comes to its shift to Black nationalism. The history of CORE allows for a discussion on both these points. What were the different chapters ? Who were the leaders, who were the members, what were the main campaigns? How did their work affect their local areas and themselves in the long term? What were the consequences, what were the rewards?
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