This week in the magazine and online, David Levering Lewis reviews “At Canaan’s Edge,” the final installment of Taylor Branch’s three-volume social history of the American civil-rights movement. Here, from the April 10, 1965, issue, Renata Adler reports on the historic march from Selma to Montgomery, led by the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.
The thirty thousand people who at one point or another took part in this week’s march from the Brown Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Selma, Alabama, to the statehouse in Montgomery were giving highly dramatic expression to a principle that could be articulated only in the vaguest terms. They were a varied lot: local Negroes, Northern clergymen, members of labor unions, delegates from state and city governments, entertainers, mothers pushing baby carriages, members of civil-rights groups more or less at odds with one another, isolated, shaggy marchers with an air of simple vagrancy, doctors, lawyers, teachers, children, college students, and a preponderance of what one marcher described as “ordinary, garden- variety civilians from just about everywhere.” They were insulated in front by soldiers and television camera crews, overhead and underfoot by helicopters and Army demolition teams, at the sides and rear by more members of the press and military, and over all by agents of the F.B.I. Most of them were aware that protection along a route of more than fifty miles of hostile country could not be absolute (on the night before the march, a student who had come here from Boston University was slashed across the cheek with a razor blade), yet few of the thirty-two hundred marchers who set out on Sunday morning seemed to have a strong consciousness of risk. They did not have a sharply defined sense of purpose, either. President Johnson’s speech about voting rights and Judge Johnson’s granting of permission for the march to take place had made the march itself ceremonial—almost redundant. The immediate aims of the abortive earlier marches had been realized: the national conscience had been aroused and federal intervention had been secured. In a sense, the government of Alabama was now in rebellion, and the marchers, with the sanction and protection of the federal government, were demonstrating against a rebellious state. It was unclear what such a demonstration could hope to achieve. Few segregationists could be converted by it, the national commitment to civil rights would hardly be increased by it, there was certainly an element of danger in it, and for the local citizenry it might have a long and ugly aftermath. The marchers, who had five days and four nights in which to talk, tended for the most part to avoid discussions of principle, apparently in the hope that their good will, their sense of solidarity, and the sheer pageantry of the occasion would resolve matters at some symbolic level and yield a clear statement of practical purpose before the march came to an end.
From this point of view, the first few hours of Sunday morning in Selma were far from satisfying. Broad Street, the town’s main thoroughfare, was deserted and indifferent. At the Negro First Baptist Church, on the corner of Sylvan Street and Jefferson Davis Avenue, denim-clad veterans of earlier marches stood wearily aloof from recruits, who ate watery scrambled eggs, drank watery coffee, and simply milled about. On Sylvan Street itself, an unpaved red sand road dividing identical rows of brick houses known as the George Washington Carver Development, crowds were gathering, some facing the entrance to the Brown Chapel Church, others on the steps of the church facing out. Inside the church, more people were milling, while a few tried to sleep on benches or on the floor. For several hours, nothing happened. The church service that was to begin the march was scheduled to take place at ten o’clock, but veterans advised newcomers—in the first of several bitter, self-mocking jokes that became current on the Selma-Montgomery road—that this was C.P.T., Colored People Time, and the service actually began more than an hour behind schedule. In a field behind the housing development, the Reverend Andrew Young, executive director of Dr. Martin Luther King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference (S.C.L.C., referred to by some of the marchers as Slick), which sponsored the march, was giving marshals and night security guards last-minute instructions in the tactics of non-violence. “Keep women and children in the middle,” he said. “If there’s a shot, stand up and make the others kneel down. Don’t be lagging around, or you’re going to get hurt. Don’t rely on the troopers, either. If you’re beaten on, crouch and put your hands over the back of your head. Don’t put up your arm to ward off a blow. If you fall, fall right down and look dead. Get to know the people in your unit, so you can tell if somebody’s missing or if there’s somebody there who shouldn’t be there. And listen! If you can’t be non-violent, let me know now.” A young man in the standard denim overalls of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (S.N.C.C., otherwise known as Snick) murmured, “Man, you’ve got it all so structured. There seems to be a certain anxiety here about structure.” Everyone laughed, a bit nervously, and the marshals went to the front of the church.
The crowd there was growing, still arrayed in two lines, one facing in, the other facing out. There were National Guardsmen and local policemen, on foot and in jeeps and cars, along the sides of Sylvan Street and around its corners, at Jefferson Davis and Alabama Avenues. The marchers themselves appeared to have dressed for all kinds of weather and occasions—in denims, cassocks, tweed coats, ponchos, boots, sneakers, Shetland sweaters, silk dresses, college sweatshirts, sports shirts, khaki slacks, fur-collared coats, pea jackets, and trenchcoats. As they waited, they sang innumerable, increasingly dispirited choruses of “We Shall Overcome,” “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me ’Round,” and other songs of the movement. There was a moment of excitement when Dr. King and other speakers assembled on the steps, but a succession of long, rhetorical, and, to a certain extent (when press helicopters buzzed too low or when the microphone went dead), inaudible speeches put a damper on that. An enthusiastic lady, of a sort that often afflicts banquets and church suppers, sang several hymns of many stanzas, with little melody and much vibrato. Exhaust fumes from a television truck parked to the right of the steps began to choke some of the marchers, and they walked away, coughing. Speakers praised one another extravagantly in monotonous political-convention cadences (“the man who . . .”). An irreverent, irritated voice with a Bronx accent shouted, “Would you mind please talking a little louder!” Several members of the crowd sat down in the street, and the march assumed the first of its many moods—that of tedium.
Then Dr. King began to speak, and suddenly, for no apparent reason, several Army jeeps drove straight through the center of the crowd. (“Didn’t realize we were interrupting,” said one of the drivers, smiling. He had a D.D., for Dixie Division, emblem on his uniform.) The startled crowd, divided in half for a moment, became aware of its size. Dr. King’s speech came to an end, and there was last, unified, and loud rendition of “We Shall Overcome.” Then the marshals quickly arranged the crowd in columns, six abreast—women and children in the middle—and the procession set out down Sylvan Street. It was about one o’clock. On Alabama Avenue, the marchers turned right, passing lines of silent white citizens on the sidewalks. On Broad Street, which is also U.S. Route 80 to Montgomery, they turned left, and as segregationist loudspeakers along the way blared “Bye, Bye, Blackbird” and the white onlookers began to jeer, the marchers approached and crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge. And the march entered another mood—jubilation.
The day was sunny and cool. The flat road, an amalgam of asphalt and the local sand, looked pink. The people in the line linked arms, and the procession was long enough to permit the marchers to sing five different civil-rights songs simultaneously without confusion; the vanguard could not hear what the rear guard was singing. Occasionally, various leaders of the movement broke out of the line to join interviewers from the television networks, which took turns using a camera truck that preceded the line of march. For the first few miles, the highway was flanked by billboards (“Keep Selma Beautiful, Cover It with Dodge”), smaller signs (Rotary, Kiwanis, Lions, Citizens Council), diners, and gas stations. Little clusters of white onlookers appeared at various points along the road, some shouting threats and insults, others silently waving Confederate flags, and still others taking pictures of the marchers, presumably as a warning that their faces would not be forgotten when the march was over. The procession filled the two left lanes of the four-lane highway, but in the two right lanes traffic was proceeding almost normally. A black Volkswagen passed the marchers several times; on its doors and fenders were signs, lettered in whitewash: “martin luther kink,” “walk, coon,” “coonesville, u.s.a.,” and “rent your priest suit here.” Several small children at the roadside waved toy rifles and popguns and chanted “Nigger lover!,” “White nigger!,” “Half-breed!,” and other epithets. A man in front of a roadside diner thumbed his nose for the entire twenty minutes it took the procession to pass him, and a well-dressed matron briefly stopped her Chrysler, got out, stuck out her tongue, climbed in again, slammed the door, and drove off.
Several times, the march came to an abrupt halt, and in the middle ranks and the rear guard there were murmurs of alarm. Then it became clear that these were only rest stops, and the marchers relaxed and resumed their singing. Rented trucks, driven by ministers of the San Francisco Theological Seminary, carried portable toilets up and down the line. When press photographers attempted to take pictures of civil-right leaders entering the men’s rooms, the Reverend Mr. Young shouted, “Can’t a man even go to the john in peace?” The photographers moved away. Three tired marchers rode a short distance on the water truck, and James Forman, the executive secretary of S.N.C.C., who was being interviewed in French for Canadian television, broke off his interview to mutter as the truck passed, “Hey, man, you cats could walk.” The marchers got down from the truck at once. Forman resumed his interview. “I think he’s having trouble with his French,” said one of the marchers. ‘He just said that no Negro in America is allowed to vote.” “His French is all right,” said another. “But he may be less concerned with the immediate truth than with stirring up the kind of chaos that makes things change.”
By sunset of the first day, the caravan was more than seven miles from Selma, and most of the marchers returned by a special train to town, where some of them left for their home communities and others were put up for the night in the Negro development on Sylvan Street. Two hundred and eighty Negroes, representing Alabama counties (a hundred and forty-eight from Dallas County, eighty-nine from Perry, twenty-three from Marengo, and twenty from Wilcox), and twenty whites, from all over the country, who had been chosen to make the entire journey to Montgomery (the court permitted no more than three hundred marchers on the twenty-mile stretch of Route 80 midway between Selma and Montgomery, where it is only a two-lane highway) turned off Route 80 onto a tarred road leading to the David Hall farm—their campsite for the night. Four large tents had already been pitched in a field. As the marchers lined up for supper (three tons of spaghetti), which was served to them on paper plates, from brand-new garbage pails, night fell. Groups of National Guardsmen who surrounded the farm lighted campfires. “It looks like Camelot,” said one of the younger whites.
Camelot soon became very cold and damp. By nine o’clock, most of the marchers had retired to the tents, but within an hour they had to be roused and sorted out. One tent was for men, another for women, the third for the marchers’ own night security patrol, and the fourth for the press. When everyone had been assigned to his or her proper tent, it developed that there was a shortage of blankets, winter clothes, and sleeping bags. A shivering group huddled around an incinerator, the campsite’s only source of heat. A few marchers made their way to the loft of a barn beside the Hall farmhouse, to profit from the heat given off by the animals in the stalls below. Five guinea hens perched in a tree outside the barn. The march’s security patrol wandered about with walkie-talkies; they had labelled their outposts Abel, Baker, Charlie, and Dog, using the Army’s old system, to set them apart from Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, and Delta, the outposts of the National Guard along the perimeter of the field. The night grew colder, damper, and darker, and the group around the incinerator fire grew uneasy.
There was talk of the march ahead through Lowndes County, where swamps and the woods behind them might easily shelter a sniper in a tree or a canoe. Several marchers claimed to have spotted members of the American Nazi Party along the line of march. Someone mentioned the Ku Klux Klan “counter-demonstration” that had taken place in Montgomery that afternoon.
“And the snakes,” a man said.
“What snakes?” said a Northern voice.
“Copperheads and cottonmouth. It takes the heat to bring them out, but a trooper told me somebody’s caught five baskets full and is letting them go where we camp tomorrow night.”
“How’d the trooper hear about it?”
“Well, I suppose there might be spies right here in camp.”
“There might. And bombs and mines. They cleared a few this afternoon. Man, this isn’t any Boy Scout jamboree. It’s something else.”
By the time dawn came, the campers were a thoroughly chilled and bleary-eyed group. The oatmeal served at breakfast gave rise to a certain amount of mirth (“Tastes like fermented library paste,” said one of the clergymen), and the news that the National Guardsmen had burned thirteen fence posts, two shovel handles, and an outhouse belonging to a neighboring church in order to keep warm during the night cheered everyone considerably. At a press conference held by Jack Rosenthal, the young Director of Public Information of the Justice Department, the rumors about snakes, bombs, and mines were checked out, and it was learned that none of them were true. A reporter waved several racist leaflets that had been dropped from an airplane and asked whether anything was being done to prevent such planes from dropping bombs. “What do you want us to do?” Rosenthal replied. “Use anti-aircraft guns?”
The procession set out promptly at 8 a.m. The distance to the next campsite—Rosa Steele’s farm—was seventeen miles. Again the day was sunny, and as the air grew warmer some of the more sunburned members of the group donned berets or Stetsons or tied scarves or handkerchiefs around their heads. To the white onlookers who clustered beside the road, the three hundred marchers must have seemed a faintly piratical band. At the head of the line were Dr. and Mrs. King, wearing green caps with earmuffs and reading newspapers as they walked. Not far behind them was a pale-green wagon (known to the marchers as the Green Dragon) with Mississippi license plates, in which rode doctors wearing armbands of the M.C.H.R. (the Medical Committee for Human Rights). Farther back were some of the younger civil-rights leaders: Hosea Williams, S.C.L.C. director of the march and veteran of the bitter struggle for public accommodations in Savannah, Georgia; the Reverend James Bevel, formerly of S.N.C.C., now S.C.L.C. project director for Alabama (Mr. Bevel was wearing the many-colored yarmulke that has become almost his trademark—“a link,” he says, “to our Old Testament heritage”); John Lewis, chairman of S.N.C.C.; and the Reverend Andrew Young. Behind the leaders, some of the main personae of the march had begun to emerge, among them Joe Young, a blind greenhouse worker from Atlanta, Georgia, and Jim Letherer, a one-legged settlement-house worker from Saginaw, Michigan. (“Left! Left! Left! “ the segregationist onlookers chanted as Mr. Letherer moved along on crutches.) Chuck Fager, a young worker for S.C.L.C., wearing denims and a black yarmulke, was waving and shouting, “Come march with us! Why don’t you come along and march with us?” (“It sets up a dialogue,” he explained. “The last time I was in jail, a sheriff pulled me aside and asked me where the hell I was from. Any sort of talk like that sets up a dialogue.”) Sister Mary Leoline, a nun from Christ the King parish in Kansas City, Kansas, was talking to John Bart Gerald, a young novelist from New York. “This is a great time to be alive,” she said. A few members of the night security guard had somehow acquired cameras, and they were now photographing bystanders who were photographing marchers; it appeared that a sort of reciprocal Most Wanted list was being compiled. From time to time, the marchers were still singing (“Oh-h-h, Wallace, segregation’s bound to fall”), and the chief of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, Assistant Attorney General John Doar, tall, tanned, and coatless, was striding back and forth along the line of march to see that all was going well.
Around two o’clock, as the middle ranks of marchers passed an intersection just outside Lowndes County, a female bystander apparently could stand it no longer. “They’re carrying the flag upside down!” she screamed to the nearest trooper. “Isn’t there a law against that? Can’t you arrest them? Look at them so-called white men with church collars that they bought for fifty cents! And them devirginated nuns! I’m a Catholic myself, but it turns my stomach to see them. They said there was thousands yesterday, but there wasn’t near a thousand. Them niggers and them girls! I’ve watched the whole thing three times, and there isn’t a intelligent-looking one in the bunch. I feel sorry for the black folks. If they want to vote, why don’t they just go out and register? Oh, honey, look! There goes a big one. Go home, scum! Go home, scum!” The procession began to sing a not very hearty version of “A Great Camp Meeting in the Promised Land.”
Not all the bystanders along the road were white. At the boundary of Lowndes County (with a population of fifteen thousand, eighty per cent of them Negroes, not one of whom had been registered to vote by March 1, 1965), John Maxwell, a Negro worker in a Lowndes County cotton-gin mill (at a salary of six dollars for a twelve-hour day), appeared at an intersection.
“Why don’t you register to vote?” a reporter from the Harvard Crimson asked Mr. Maxwell.
“They’d put us off the place if I tried,” Mr. Maxwell said.
In the town of Trickem, at the Nolan Elementary School—a small white shack on brick stilts, which had asbestos shingles, a corrugated-iron roof, six broken windows, and a broken wood floor patched with automobile license plates—a group of old people and barefoot children rushed out to embrace Dr. King. They had been waiting four hours.
“Will you march with us?” Dr. King asked an old man with a cane.
“I’ll walk one step, anyway,” said the man. “Because I know for every one step I’ll take you’ll take two.”
The marchers broke into a chant. “What do you want?” they shouted encouragingly to the Negroes at the roadside. The Negroes smiled, but they did not give the expected response—“Freedom!” The marchers had to supply that themselves.
Late in the afternoon, as Route 80 passed through the swamps of Lowndes County, the marchers looked anxiously at the woods, covered with Spanish moss, which began a few yards back from the road. They reached Rosa Steele’s farm at sunset. Many of them seemed dismayed to find that the campsite lay right beside the highway. Fresh rumors began to circulate: a man had been seen putting a bomb under a roadside bridge; twenty white men, with pistols and shotguns, had been seen prowling through a neighboring field; testing security, a representative of the Pentagon had managed to penetrate the security lines without being asked to show his pass. Mr. Rosenthal again put these fears to rest. “The field has been combed by Army demolition teams,” he said. “If anyone from the Pentagon had made it through unchecked, you can bet there would have been one hell of a fuss. And as for the man under the bridge, it was a little boy who got off his bicycle to relieve himself. The troopers found out these things. It’s nice to know that they are this aware.”
As darkness fell, Dr. King held a press conference. A Negro woman lifted up her three-year-old son so that he might catch a glimpse of Dr. King. She soon grew tired and had to put him down. “I’ll take him,” said a white man standing beside her, and he lifted the boy onto his shoulders. The boy did not glance at Dr. King; he was too busy gazing down at the white man’s blond hair.
Again the night was cold and damp. At the entrance to the field, there was so much mud that boards and reeds had been scattered to provide traction for cars. Most of the marchers went to sleep in their four tents soon after supper, but at Steele’s Service Station, across the highway, a crowd of Negroes from the neighborhood had gathered. Some of them were dancing to music from a jukebox, and a few of the more energetic marchers, white and black, joined them.
“This is getting to be too much like a holiday,” said a veteran of one if the earlier marches. “It doesn’t tell the truth of what happened.”
At about ten o’clock, the last of the marchers crossed the highway back to camp. Shortly afterward, a fleet of cars drove up to the service station and a group of white boys got out. Two of the boys were from Georgia, two were from Texas, one was from Tennessee, one was from Oklahoma, one was from Monroeville, Alabama, and one was from Selma. The Reverend Arthur E. Matott, a white minister from Perth Amboy, New Jersey, who was a member of the night patrol, saw them and walked across the highway to where they were standing. “Can I help you fellows?” Mr. Matott asked.
“We’re just curious,” the boy from Monroeville said. “Came out to see what it was like.”
“How long are you planning to stay?” said Mr. Matott.
“Until we get ready to leave,” the boy said.
A Negro member of the night patrol quietly joined Mr. Matott.
“I cut classes,” said the boy from Tennessee. “Sort of impulsive. You hear all these stories. I wondered why you were marching.”
“Well, you might say we’re marching to get to know each other and to ease a little of the hate around here,” Mr. Matott said.
“You don’t need to march for that,” said one of the boys from Texas. “You’re making it worse. The hate was being lessened and lessened by itself throughout the years.”
“Was it?” asked the Negro member of the guard.
“It was,” the Texas boy said.
“We never had much trouble in Nashville.” said the boy from Tennessee. “Where you have no conflict, it’s hard to conceive . . . ”
“Why don’t you-all go and liberate the Indian reservations, or something?” said the boy from Monroeville. “The Negroes around here are happy.”
“I don’t think they are,” said Mr. Matott.
“I’ve lived in the South all my life, and I know that they are,” the boy from Georgia said.
“I’m not happy,” said the Negro guard.
“Well, just wait awhile,” said the boy from Monroeville.
An attractive blond girl in a black turtleneck sweater, denim pants, and boots now crossed the highway from the camp. “Do you know where I can get a ride to Jackson?” she asked the Negro guard.
“This is Casey Hayden, from S.N.C.C. She’s the granddaughter of a Texas sheriff,” said the minister, introducing her to the group.
A battered car drove up, and three more white boys emerged.
“I don’t mean to bug you,” the Negro whispered to the girl, “but did you realize we’re surrounded?”
“You fellows from Selma?” Miss Hayden asked, turning to the three most recent arrivals.
“Yeah,” said one, who was wearing a green zippered jacket, a black shirt, and black pants, and had a crew cut.
“What do you want?” Miss Hayden asked.
“I don’t know,” the boy answered.
“That’s an honest answer,” Miss Hayden said.
“It is,” the boy said.
“What do you do?” Miss Hayden asked.
“Well, Miss, I actually work for a living, and I can tell you it’s going to be hard on all of them when this is over,” the boy said. “A lot of people in town are letting their maids go.”
“Well, I don’t suppose I’d want to have a maid anyway,” Miss Hayden said amiably. “I guess I can do most things myself.”
“That’s not all, though,” said another boy. “It’s awfully bad down the road. Nothing’s happened so far, but you can’t ever tell. Selma’s a peace-loving place, but that Lowndes County is something else,”
“I guess some of these people feel they haven’t got that much to lose,” Miss Hayden said.
“I know,” said the boy.
“Do you understand what they’re marching about?” Miss Hayden asked.
“Yeah—fighting for freedom, something like that. That’s the idea, along that line. It don’t mean nothing,” the boy said.
“And to make money,” the third young man said. “The men are getting fifteen dollars a day for marching, and the girls are really making it big.”
“Is that so?” said Miss Hayden.
“Yeah. Girl came into the Selma hospital this morning, fifteen hundred dollars in her wallet. She’d slept with forty-one.”
“Forty-one what?” Miss Hayden asked.
“Niggers,” the young man said.
“And what did she go to the hospital for?” Miss Hayden asked.
“Well, actually, Ma’am, she bled to death,” the young man said.
“Where did you hear that?” Miss Hayden asked.
“In town,” the young man said. ‘There’s not much you can do, more than keep track of everything. It’s a big mess.”
“Well,” Miss Hayden said, “I think it’s going to get better.”
“Hard to say,” said one of the boys as they drifted back to their cars.
At midnight in the camp, Charles Mauldin, aged seventeen, the head of the Dallas County Student Union and a student at Selma’s Hudson High School, which is Negro, was awakened in the security tent by several guards, who ushered in a rather frightened-looking Negro boy.
“What’s going on?” asked Charles.
The boy replied that he was trying to found a Negro student movement in Lowndes County.
“That’s fine,” said Charles.
“The principal’s dead set against it,” the boy said.
“Then stay underground until you’ve got everybody organized,” Charles said. “Then if he throws one out he’ll have to throw you all out.”
“You with Snick or S.C.L.C., or what?” the boy asked.
“I’m not with anything,” Charles said. “I’m with them all. I used to just go to dances in Selma on Saturday nights and not belong to anything. Then I met John Love, who was Snick project director down here, and I felt how he just sees himself in every Negro. Then I joined the movement.”
“What about your folk?” the boy asked.
“My father’s a truck driver, and at first they were against it, but now they don’t push me and they don’t hold me back,” Charles said.
“Who’ve you had personal run-ins with?” the boy asked.
“I haven’t had personal run-ins with anybody,” Charles said. “I’ve been in jail three times, but never more than a few hours. They needed room to put other people in. Last week, I got let out, so I just had to march and get beaten on. In January, we had a march of little kids—we called it the Tots March—but we were afraid they might get frightened, so we joined them, and some of us got put in jail Nothing personal about it.”
“Some of us think that for the march we might be better off staying in school,” the boy wid.
“Well, I think if you stay in school you’re saying that you’re satisfied,” Charles said. “We had a hundred of our teachers marching partway with us. At first, I was against the march, but then I realized that although we’re probably going to get the voting bill, we still don’t have a lot of other things. It’s dramatic, and it’s an experience, so I came. I thought of a lot of terrible things that could happen, because we’re committed to non-violence, and I’m responsible for the kids from the Selma school. But then I thought, If they killed everyone on this march, it would be nothing compared to the number of people they’ve killed in the last three hundred years.”
“You really believe in non-violence?” the boy asked Charles.
“I do,” Charles said. “I used to think of it as just a tactic, but now I believe in it all the way. Now I’d just like to be tested.”
“Weren’t you tested enough when you were beaten on?” the boy asked.
“No, I mean an individual test, by myself,” Charles said. “It’s easy to talk about non-violence, but in a lot of cases you’ve got to be tested, and re-inspire yourself.’
By 2 a.m., hardly anyone in the camp was awake except the late-shift night security patrol and a group of radio operators in a trader truck, which served as a base for the walkie-talkies around the campsite and in the church back in Selma. The operators kept in constant touch with Selma, where prospective marchers were still arriving by the busload. Inside the trailer were Norman Talbot, a middle-aged Negro from Selma who had borrowed the trailer from his uncle and was serving as its driver (“I used to work in a junk yard, until they fired me for joining the movement. I’ve got a five-year-old daughter, but after that I made it my business to come out in a big way’); Pete Muilenberg, a nineteen-year-old white student on leave of absence from Dartmouth to work for C.O.F.O., the Congress of Federated Organizations, in Mississippi; and Mike Kenny, a twenty-nine-year-old white student who had quit graduate school at Iowa State to work for S.N.C.C.