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James Forman

Remained Dedicated To Civil Rights Movement

Although he has often been overshadowed by some of the more famous figures of the civil rights movement, Forman possessed an indisputable facility for organization and leadership and is widely recognized among activists and scholars. In her work The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, Emily Stoper pointed out that the leadership of SNCC from 1961 to 1966 rested primarily "in the hands of Forman at the Atlanta office." And Julian Bond, chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was quoted in the Times as saying that Forman had "imbued the [SNCC] organization with a camaraderie and collegiality that I've never seen in any organization before or since." In tribute to the former SNCC executive secretary, Cleveland Sellers wrote in The River of No Return: "The movement was not a job to Jim Forman: it was a way of life."

Forman never lost his drive to improve the lives of black Americans. In 1982 he participated in the organization of a second March on Washington. He also founded a short-lived newspaper and the Black American News Service in Washington in the early 1980s. He also imbued his sons with a sense the "you attained fulfillment through service to others," according to his son, social activist and legal scholar James Forman, Jr., in Black Issues in Higher Education.

Forman died of colon cancer on January 10, 2005. Congressional delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton related to the Sacramento Observer on the occasion of Forman's death that: "Americans may not know Jim's name as a household word, but if they look around them at the racial change in our country, they will know Jim by his work." He left a "blueprint" that she predicted will "continue to be used for civil, social, and human rights."

Additional topics

Brief BiographiesBiographies: Trevor Edwards Biography - Accepted Wisdom from His Mother to Francisco Franco (1892–1975) BiographyJames Forman Biography - Awakened To Racial Discrimination, Dedicated Life To Fighting Oppression, Worked As Sncc Organizer, Traveled To Washington And Selma - Selected writings