by Mary Elizabeth King
I was privileged to work alongside the esteemed civil rights leader and congressman John Lewis from 1963-66 while on the staff of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, or SNCC. My responsibility was in communications, which plays a critical role in nonviolent struggle, because putting across the claims, demands, calls and requests of the campaign is essential. If observers cannot clearly grasp why and what social change is being sought, they are unlikely to respond or be recruited. I would often need to issue news releases quoting John, our chairman, that I had written. John’s consistency of purpose and uncompromising insistence on treating the opponent with respect made it possible for me to conjure what he would like to say.