Personal costs of activism


in History, Politics, Psychology

First, to a remarkable extent, they have remained faithful to the political vision that drew them to Mississippi nearly a quarter century ago. Second, they have paid for this lifetime commitment with a degree of alienation and social isolation that has only increased with time. The political and cultural wave that once carried them forward so prominently continues to recede, putting more and more distance between them and mainstream society with each passing day. In a sense, the volunteers are anachronisms. They have remained idealists in a cynical age. They continue to tout community in a society seemingly antagonistic to the idea. They are, for the most part, unrepentant leftists in an era dominated by the right. If, however, these qualities make the volunteers anachronistic, it is more a comment on contemporary America than on the volunteers themselves. In their view, it is they who have kept the faith while America has lost it.

McAdam, Doug. Freedom Summer. Oxford University Press; Oxford. 1988. p. 232

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