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The March

In James Farmer’s seventh lecture of the series, he retells the march on Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963 from his point of view–watching it on a small black and white television while in jail. He shares one of his own personal heroes, A. Philip Randolph who organized the march, as well as the reason that he decided to stay instead of taking the money to bail himself out of jail. Dr. Farmer then goes into the details of “the most unlikely and the strangest events of [his] life,” involving a police brutality protest march in Plaquemine, LA. Listen to learn what Farmer believed to be the source of his eye problems and how he got away from the police troopers that wanted him dead.

Why is it that James Farmer’s contributions go practically unnoticed? Why is it that a man that had such a big impact on the civil rights movement has been nearly forgotten, and all that he had worked so hard to fight against is still around in our society today? These questions are some of the things that I would like to answer with my research project. To solve these questions first I must research and learn about his most famous contributions during the civil rights movement. With this in mind I then must discover the reasons for many of these actions being unnoticed and the reason for Farmer’s lack of glory when it came to such actions. Then I will research about current hate crimes that still occur in today’s society and the fact that these things still happen even though people like James Farmer fought for so hard and long so that these things did not happen anymore. I feel that this project is of great importance because James Farmer was a hero during his time and the lack of knowledge and appreciation of what he did should be gotten rid of. I also feel that this project can lead to numerous other tasks such as doing things differently to redeem the lost memory of Farmer, whether it is right here at the University of Mary Washington or it is anywhere else in the United States. These issues need to be researched and addressed because what James Farmer did for this country is something that many of us could never dream of doing.


Well I haven’t been able to get anywhere with my research project. I’ve helped Brett and am going to help Jackson with his. If it’s alright with Tim, I will be available to go around and help other people with their research projects for my project.

My research project takes an in-depth look at James Farmer’s influences that helped to mold and shape him into the Civil Rights leader he was. I will research the different figures mentioned in his speeches as well as his novels. I want to interpret their short biography and focus on how they affected his life and touched him in one way or another. Mostly these influences will be his immediate family members, teachers and writers that had a grave impact on his life .To recognize the influences in his life is to recognize the path he took in order to achieve desegregation and African American Civil Rights.

I am being assisted by Deidre. Our research project is still in the process of getting in touch with former students of James Farmer. We have decided to communicate with the students via email. We came up with questions to ask the students, adn we plan to sahre these results with you. We got in touch with the with head of alumni, and are waiting to recive email addresses wehre we will then start to comunicate with the fromer students. Deidre and I are in hope that we are able to hear from numerous number of former students, and are able to create an idea of what kind of teacher James Farmer was.

For this project, I’m collaborating with Chris as we contact Farmer’s former students. We’ve typed some of his students’ names, year of college in which they were when enrolled in his class, and whether it was the Fall or Spring semester of each particular year. We emailed Cynthia Snyder, Director of Alumni Relations at UMW, and she has agreed to provide us with the name of five to ten email addresses and/or contacts of people from the list each week. With this information, we will hopefully we able to contact many of Farmer’s former students and get feedback on how his lectures effected them while at Mary Washington College and beyond.

Was James Farmer’s influence as great after he was no longer working with CORE? What was it that made him take a position working for the Nixon administration. These are among the questions that I will answer with my research. I feel that this is an important subject because it was a step in a different direction for James Farmer. He had worked with other presidents before, but this was different and the job had him working inside of the government instead outside it. In order to do my research I will not only look at James Farmer, but at those that worked around him. I will also look into proposals James Farmer made and also try and find out more about the Head Start program and how it came to be.

If you type “james farmer” into the google search bar, our seminar will not pop up (at least not on the first page). However, if you type “james farmer forgotten”, our blog comes up as the fifth and sixth hit. A little twist of irony there.

Research Question

How is it that the nation as a whole is so familiar with the civil rights movement and even the freedom rides but the only civil rights leaders everyone knows is King or X? Especially on a campus where he taught and in an area where he lived we should at least be familiar with his name and who he was. Why did he drop out of the public’s eye?

Brett Kube

Despite his unrelenting, zealous action throughout the civil rights movement during the 60’s, James Farmer’s popularity paled in comparison to other leaders of his time. Why did this happen? Is it possible to restore his image or will he eventually be forgotten?

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