By Charles Dumas
NEW DAY: For those of us who spent most of the Summer working on the Freedom Project,leaving rural Mississippi was like entering a brave new world filled with strange people and ideas.
In the sixties the prevailing influence was the cold war, a conflict between the United States, and the Soviet Union (Russia) and Communist China. The US and Soviets had been allies during World War II (WWII) but afterwards the two countries became engaged in a struggle for political and economic dominance. Both had a bounty of nuclear weapons, which they threatened to use if attacked. Both recognized that a real military confrontation would most likely result in the annihilation of all human life on the planet. During that era every political event was framed in coldwar terms including the civil rights movement. Condemnations of being communist were hurled against the Movement and its leaders, even Dr. King. J. Edgar Hoover, the long time director of the FBI,was so convinced that the Movement had been infiltrated by communists, he spent large amounts of the government’s resources investigating civil rights leaders while often ignoring the white terrorist organizations, which were instigating and promulgating violence against civil rights workers.
During this period America was also experiencing a period of great prosperity. The ravagesof WWII had destroyed the production apparatus of the major European and Asian industrial powers. The US was the only country,which emerged with its industry intact. In fact, the US took on the task of helping to finance and rebuild European and Asian manufacturing capabilities through programs like the Marshall plan.