Community Organizing Document Study

Heather Booth and Fannie Lou Hamer, 1964

Heather Booth playing guitar for Fannie Lou Hamer and others during the Freedom Summer Project in Mississippi, 1964.

Courtesy of Wallace Roberts.

Discussion Questions

  1. What do you see in this photograph (be as objective as possible in your description)?
  2. Based on what you see, what do you think is happening in this photograph?
  3. Freedom music was a type of community singing that was popular during the Civil Rights Movement. How do you think music helps build community?

Vicki Gabriner Oral History Excerpt, Challenges

JR: What were the greatest challenges for you in doing this kind of work?

VG: (laughter) You know, I hesitate because there was such – I was so impelled and compelled to do this work. The drive was so strong and it was a drive that came from inside of me. It wasn’t like someone said, “Oh, you should do this.” It wasn’t about Bob saying, “Oh, we have to do this,” and being man ahead about it. That is in some ways so different from how I feel about almost anything today that in a way on some level there was nothing difficult about it. Because I felt held in some way in a national – and around civil rights stuff in sort of a national energy, a national movement of which I felt part, which just made all the work in every difficult moment possible.

And I don’t think I’m romanticizing it as I look back on it. I remember there were just the most extraordinary moments in that work. I remember times being at a mass meeting inside a church and singing “We Shall Overcome” and knowing that there were white people outside in their cars, in their trucks, probably with guns, and feeling as though the roof were just going to lift off the church because the energy of the people with whom we were working was so intense. You know, the struggle – they were so involved in the struggle that it was palpable. It was palpable…

Vicki Gabriner, oral history conducted by Judith Rosenbaum for the Jewish Women's Archive on July 20, 2000.
Audio excerpt available at

Discussion Questions

  1. At the end of this paragraph, Vicki describes being in a church while another group is waiting outside. These two groups are divided by color, space, and values. With which community do you think Vicki Gabriner identifies?
  2. What do you think she has in common with the community with which she identifies?
  3. What do you think she has in common with the other community?
  4. Based on these similarities and differences, what do you think were some things that were important in connecting people and forming communities during the Civil Rights Movement?


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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Community Organizing Document Study." (Viewed on May 29, 2024) <>.