One of my goals is to create more recognition for James Farmer. A way to do this is propose a holiday dedicated to him for the State of Virginia. This is kind of like shooting for the stars, but all great things begin this way. I will begin by writing to my senator a letter explaining why he should care about who James Farmer is. In this letter I will show that he was not only the beginning of the movement, but also an influential leader throughout. Here are the points I will make:
1) James Farmer began the passive resistance movement that King is credited for. He outlined his ideals in his memorandum to A.J. Muste, and had to fight for others to accept them. He was the one to take the ideas from Ghandi and use them in America.
2) He did not merely produce the ideas for passive resistance and then leave the scene before the prime of the movement began. After staging the first sit-ins in America, he continued to lead CORE and during the 60s he organized and participated in the freedom rides. He met strong resistance by the other leaders of the movement until they proved to be highly effective.
3) He was a Virginian
4) The freedom rides he organized and led caused the entire country to become involved in the movement, rather than a few individual pockets of the country fighting for equality in individual places.
I think I will need to form a petition to show that this is not one person’s argument. The catch is that I need to find people who actually know who James Farmer is to sign the petition. What I think is a good idea is to have a local publicity campeign for him, and when people find out how influential he was they will sign the petition. This is kind of like how in the first sit-ins the customers who weren’t participating began to participate once enlightened on the true situation.
I’m not sure as to how far this will go, but it has endless possibilities. If nothing else, the govenor could issue a proclamation or make a speech of some kind.
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