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Discussion Questions

  1. Who wrote this document?
  2. When was this document written? (At the time of the events described? After the events described took place?)
  3. What type of document is this? Who was the intended audience for this document? How might this have influenced the content of the document?
  4. What kind of reception did Lew receive at Western College? How might you describe the atmosphere of in-groups and out-groups? Does it remind you of any experiences you've encountered?
  5. What kind of reception do you think Lew wanted/expected?
  6. According to Lew, how did the African American volunteers view the white Northern activists? How do you think Lew and the other white Northern activists viewed themselves? How might the difference between these perceptions cause tension between the two groups?
  7. Lew writes that "right now we don't know what it is to be a Negro." Does he think this is an important thing to know? If so, why? Why do you think this lack of knowledge could be a source of tension among the white and black activists?
  8. At the end of the letter Lew says, "But what I am finding here is a different situation and perhaps a more honest one…" How is it more honest? What issues divided whites and blacks in the Civil Rights Movement? How did the tensions Lew describes compare to the ideals and idealism of the Civil Rights Movement?

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Discussion Questions." (Viewed on January 20, 2018) <>.


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