1961 October 11

Student Activist Tom Hayden Beaten in McComb, Mississippi


Tom Hayden, a graduate of the University of Michigan and an organizer of Students for a Democratic Society, went to Mississippi to write a report on the civil rights work of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC, founded April 15, 1960). He was beaten by white segregationists in McComb, Mississippi, on this day. He wrote about his experience and the work of SNCC in the report Revolution in Mississippi (see below).

SNCC’s activism inspired political action by white students outside of the South, including the Free Speech Movement at the University of California, Berkeley in 1964 (see October 1, 1964; December 2, 1964). Hayden went on to co-found Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and become a leader of the anti-Vietnam War movement. He later served in the California legislature from 1982 to 1992.

Read Hayden’s Report, Revolution in Mississippi (1962):

Read Tom Hayden’s memoirs: Tom Hayden, Reunion: A Memoir (1988)

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