In 1942 George Houser, James Farmer, Bayard Rustin, and Bernice Fisher established the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE). Members of CORE had been deeply influenced by the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi and the nonviolent civil disobedience campaign that he used successfully against British rule in India. The students became convinced that the same methods could be employed by African Americans to obtain civil rights in America.
In early 1947, the CORE announced plans to send eight white and eight black men into the Deep South to test the Supreme Court ruling that declared segregation in interstate travel unconstitutional. organized by Houser and Bayard Rustin, the Journey of Reconciliation was to be a two-week pilgrimage through Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Kentucky.
The Journey of Reconciliation achieved a great deal of publicity and was the start of a long campaign of direct action by CORE for racial equality in the United States.
"I think there is a new element in the civil rights struggle today as compared with years ago. In the past, the negroes wanted to fight against segregation but they tried to do it with a minimum of risk and a minimum of suffering. They asked other people to eliminate segregation for them. But now, the younger negro is willing to risk all sorts of things, even jail, even suffering, even pain, even death. I think their courage has been a courageous thing. Many of their parents and the older people in the community are catching it too. They are saying - if my kids can risk all of this, then why not I? Their consciences are being disturbed."
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