American Social Leaders and Activists (American Biographies) by Neil A. Hamilton

By Neil A. Hamilton

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When a shootout between AIM members and FBI agents in June left two agents dead, the government sought Aquash for questioning, though she had been nowhere near the scene. In September she was arrested during a raid at the nearby Rosebud Reservation and charged with the illegal possession of a firearm. Aquash said about the FBI: “I think they most definitely want to destroy the Indian nation if it will not submit to the living conditions of a so-called reservation. ” She later said to a friend that an FBI agent who questioned her told her that if she failed to cooperate, she would be dead within a year.

Congress refused, and a schism split the suffrage movement when some women insisted that the issue of their gaining the ballot should take priority over blacks’ gaining the right to vote. Others believed that extending the vote to blacks could be used as a foundation for extending it to women. Anthony thought blacks should wait for suffrage. She criticized the push for the Fifteenth Amendment, which would prohibit denying a person the right to vote on the basis of race, and said that as voters, black men would join white men in oppressing women.

Yet her role with SNCC drew on her earlier experience with the 30 Balch, Emily Greene Young Negroes Cooperative League; she had from the start of her activism wanted to reach out to black youths. In 1964 Baker helped found the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP), an alternative to that state’s whites-only Democratic Party. The MFDP tried to seat its delegates at the Democratic National Convention, and although they failed, their attempt placed the political spotlight on racial segregation and led to promises by the national Democratic leadership that in the future exclusively white delegations would no longer be allowed.

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