How would you describe the period from 1948 to 1960?
John Lewis:
In terms of progress, real progress. Of black people in the political arena in terms of civil rights, there is very little progress. You had very few organizations, very few groups. You had on the national level the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People] fighting, for the most part involving a small segment of the black community. You had a few professionals here and there but it was not until the first real effort to involve the masses in the struggle came with the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955. In my estimation, not until 1960, when the whole sit-in started, did you see a total community, every segment of the black community, get involved. I think today what is happening since 1955 and particularly since 1960, black people see their involvements an extension--see their involvement in the political movement as an extension of their involvement in the Civil Rights Movement.

- John Lewis, former chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and Georgia congressman

Interview with John Lewis by Jack Bass and Walter DeVries, November 20, 1973, Interview A-0073, in the Southern Oral History Program Collection #4007, Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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