Forman, James, 1928-2005

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Social activist and organizer James Forman was born on October 4, 1928, in Chicago. He spent much of his childhood with his grandmother on a farm in Marshall County, Mississippi. His grandmother stressed the importance of education and his experiences in the segregated South proved very important in his developing social consciousness.

Forman completed high school in 1947. He attended Chicago's Wilson Junior College before joining the U.S. Air Force. After completing four years of military service, Forman enrolled at the University of Southern California. At the beginning of his second semester, Forman was beaten and arrested by the police. He then transferred to Chicago's Roosevelt University where he became a leader in student politics. Forman graduated in 1957 and attended Boston University as a graduate student.

During the late 1950s, Forman gradually became involved in the budding Civil Rights Movement. In 1958, he traveled to Little Rock, Arkansas, to cover the school desegregation crisis for the Chicago Defender. In 1960, he joined the Congress of Racial Equality, providing relief services to sharecroppers in Tennessee who had been evicted for registering to vote. That same year, he met several of the Freedom Riders, who in turn asked Forman to work with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. In 1961, Forman moved south, joined SNCC, and began working full time for the Civil Rights Movement.

Forman's organizational skills, as well as his maturity and experience, thrust him into a leadership role at SNCC, where he supervised staff and directed fundraising. He served as SNCC's executive secretary from 1964 to 1966. Forman left SNCC in 1968 to assist in increasing the economic development opportunities for black communities. Remaining an activist, Forman served as president of the Unemployment and Poverty Action Committee. He later returned to academia, obtaining his M.A. degree from Cornell University in 1980 and his Ph.D. from the Union of Experimental Colleges and Universities.

Since 1968, Forman has published several books, including Sammy Younge, Jr., The Making of Black Revolutionaries; Liberation Viendra d'une Chose Noir; The Political Thought of James Forman; and Self-Determination: An Examination of the Question & its Application to the African-American People.

Forman passed away on January 10, 2005.

From The HistoryMakers™ biography: https://www.thehistorymakers.org/biography/A2001.033

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn National Conference for New Politics. Records, 1966-1968. Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project
referencedIn Durr, Virginia Foster. Papers: Series I, 1919-1988 (inclusive). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Civil rights collection, 1960-1972 The New York Public Library. Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division.
creatorOf Forman, James, 1928-2005. James Forman papers, 1848-2005 (bulk 1961-2001). Library of Congress
creatorOf Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (U.S.). Atlanta Office. Executive Secretary files, 1959-1972. Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial Center
creatorOf Yancy, Roberta,. Civil rights collection, 1960-1972. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Rabin, Jack, 1945-. Jack Rabin collection on Alabama civil rights and southern activists, 1941-2004 (bulk 1956-1974). Pennsylvania State University Libraries
referencedIn Shick, Tom W. Collected Papers, 1966-1976. Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project
referencedIn King, Slater. Slater King papers, 1955-1968. Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial Center
creatorOf Mayfield, Julian, 1928-1984. Julian Mayfield papers, 1949-1984. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
referencedIn Julian Mayfield papers, 1949-1984 The New York Public Library. Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division.
creatorOf James Forman Papers, 1848-2005, (bulk 1961-2001) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
creatorOf Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (U.S.). New York Office. International Affairs Commission files, 1964-1969. Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial Center
referencedIn Browning, Joan C. Joan C. Browning papers, 1961-1996. Emory University Library, Special Collect Department
editorOf "For Freedom Now" Civil Rights Symposium National Archives at College Park
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf The HistoryMakers Video Oral History with James Forman The HistoryMakers
Relation Name
associatedWith Al-Amin, Jamil, 1943- person
correspondedWith Belafonte, Harry, 1927- person
correspondedWith Bellamy, Fay person
associatedWith Black Economic Development Conference. corporateBody
associatedWith Black Panther Party. corporateBody
associatedWith Black Workers Congress. corporateBody
correspondedWith Braden, Anne, 1924-2006 person
associatedWith Browning, Joan C. person
associatedWith Carmichael, Stokely. person
correspondedWith Clinton, Bill, 1946- person
associatedWith Congress of Racial Equality. corporateBody
correspondedWith Donaldson, Ivanhoe person
correspondedWith Drake, St. Clair person
associatedWith Durr, Virginia Foster. person
associatedWith Fanon, Frantz, 1925-1961. person
correspondedWith Hayden, Tom person
correspondedWith Hayden, Tom person
correspondedWith Holt, Faye person
correspondedWith Holt, Len person
associatedWith Johnson, P. Anna (Patricia Anna) person
associatedWith King, Slater. person
associatedWith March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom (1963 : Washington, D.C.) corporateBody
associatedWith Mayfield, Julian, 1928-1984. person
correspondedWith McDew, Charles person
correspondedWith McSurely, Alan, 1936- person
correspondedWith Meeks, Josie person
associatedWith Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. corporateBody
associatedWith Mississippi Freedom Labor Union. corporateBody
associatedWith Mississippi Freedom Project. corporateBody
associatedWith Mississippi Freedom Schools. corporateBody
associatedWith National Black Economic Development Conference (1969 : Detroit, Mich.) corporateBody
associatedWith National Black Economic Development Conference (1969 : Detroit, Mich.) Black Manifesto. corporateBody
associatedWith National Conference for New Politics. corporateBody
associatedWith Rabin, Jack, 1945- person
correspondedWith Romilly, Constancia person
correspondedWith Sarachild, Kathie person
correspondedWith Sharpe, Monroe person
associatedWith Shick, Tom W. person
correspondedWith Stone, Donald P., 1935- person
correspondedWith Stone, Flora, person
associatedWith Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (U.S.). Atlanta Office. corporateBody
associatedWith Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (U.S.). New York Office. corporateBody
associatedWith Unemployed Poverty Action Council, Legal Defense, Education, and Research Fund. corporateBody
associatedWith Unemployment and Poverty Action Committee. corporateBody
correspondedWith Warren, Robert Penn, 1905-1989 person
associatedWith Yancy, Roberta person
associatedWith Yancy, Roberta, person
associatedWith Younge, Sammy, 1944-1966. person
correspondedWith Zellner, Dorothy person
correspondedWith Zellner, James A. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Central America
United States
Washington (D.C.)
South Africa
Central America
United States
Mississippi
Alabama
Africa
China
Middle East
Chicago (Ill.)
China
Africa
South Africa
Washington (D.C.)
Mississippi
Middle East
Washington (D.C.)
Georgia
Subject
School integration
School integration
Segregation
Segregation
Voter registration
Voter registration
African American newspapers
African American periodicals
African American press
African Americans
African Americans
African Americans
African Americans
African Americans
African Americans
African Americans
African Americans
African Americans
Black militant organizations
Black militant organizations
Black power
Black power
Civil rights
Civil rights
Civil rights demonstrations
Civil rights demonstrations
Civil rights movement
Civil rights movements
Civil rights movements
Civil rights movements
Civil rights movements
Human rights
Human rights
Labor
Labor
March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, Washington, D.C., 1963
Racism
Racism
Radicalism
Radicalism
Occupation
Authors
Civil Rights Activist
Civil rights leaders
Journalists
NonProfit Chief Executive
Activity

Person

Birth 1928-10-04

Death 2005-01-10

Birth 19281004

Death 20050110

French,

English,

Spanish; Castilian

Information

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