“This Is Freedom Out of Control!”: Graham’s Dissent from the Civil Rights Movement

  • Michael G. Long


“Just behind the white church school was a public school for black children.” So begins a fascinating story that Graham shared with his radio audience in 1965, at the time of the Selma movement. The playgrounds of the two elementary schools were adjoining, and there was no Jim Crow fence between them, which meant that the white and black students could freely play with one another in a large common area. Little Susan was one of the children who attended the white church school, and her mother had encouraged her along the way to invite a friend for Saturday lunch; all she had to do was to let her mother know ahead of time. One day Susan came home and excitedly reported that she had indeed extended an invitation to a girl she had made friends with on the playground. Pleased but cautious, Susan’s mother, already steeped in segregation, wondered aloud if the friend was white or black. And in Graham’s classic retelling, “Susan replied, ‘I don’t know, but I’ll look tomorrow.’”


White Racism African American Girl Racial Tension Forced Integration Radio Audience 
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  1. 60.
    S. Jonathan Bass, Blessed Are the Peacemakers: Martin Luther King, Jr., Eight White Religious Leaders, and the ‘Letter from Birmingham Jail’ (Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 2001), 148.Google Scholar
  2. 80.
    See Stokely Carmichael and Charles V. Hamilton, Black Power: The Politics of Liberation in America (New York: Random House, 1967).Google Scholar

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© Michael G. Long 2006

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  • Michael G. Long

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