Jan 25, 2023
This conversation is centered on Dan Berger’s new book Stayed on Freedom: The Long History of Black Power Through One Family’s Journey.
Stayed On Freedom brings into focus two unheralded Black Power activists who dedicated their lives to the fight for freedom.
Zoharah Simmons and Michael Simmons fell in love while organizing tenants and workers in the South for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee or SNCC at the height of the Civil Rights Movement. Their commitment to each other and to social change took them on a decades-long journey that traversed first the country and then the world. In centering their lives, historian Dan Berger shows how Black Power united the local and the global across organizations and generations.
We’re really excited that for our discussion of the book we get to do something a bit different than we usually do, thanks to Zoharah and Michael Simmons who join us along with Dan Berger to offer some oral history of their decades of struggle.
In this part of our conversation, we talk about their childhoods, their early politicization, defying their families in order to get directly involved in perhaps the most dangerous work in the Civil Rights Movement and we begin to talk about the Black communities they joined in the Deep South to be a part of those transformative struggles against Jim Crow.
There will be at least 2 more episodes talking with Zoharah and Michael about their long-term commitment to what Berger calls “The Long History of Black Power.” And we are so grateful to Dan, Michael and Zoharah for taking so much time to bring you these oral histories. Stayed on Freedom is on sale now and you can pick it up from our friends at Massive Bookshop and at bookstores everywhere.
As a note we have done some previous oral histories with SNCC veterans and we will include those in the show notes as well, as they provide more context for one of the most important radical struggles in the history of this country.
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