From Beloved Community to Imagined Community

Joe Street

in From Sit-Ins to SNCC

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780813041513
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780813043883 | DOI:
From Beloved Community to Imagined Community

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  • History of the Americas


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This chapter by Joe Street traces the development of SNCC's concept of community, placing particular emphasis on the transition that occurred between the conclusion of the Mississippi Summer Project in 1964 and the expulsion of whites from the organization in 1967. The influx of new activists with fewer emotional and personal bonds to SNCC's original character transformed its biracial ideal of the “beloved community” into a concept more in tune with Benedict Anderson's notion of an “imagined community,” which gave expression to its long-standing ambivalence about integration. Rejecting the orthodoxy that interprets SNCC's development in terms of its decline as a redemptive organization, this suggests instead that its evolution was logical and understandable in relation to its shifting notion of community.

Keywords: SNCC; Beloved Community; Imagined Community; Whites; Freedom Summer

Chapter.  7958 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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