Papers of James Forman to Be Housed at the Library of Congress

The Library of Congress has announced that it will become the depository for the papers of civil rights activist James Forman. The collection includes more than 70,000 pages of documents, letters, memos, notes, photographs, and other volumes chronicling his years as the executive secretary of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

Forman was a master of grass-roots organizing. He conducted voting rights drives, planned protest demonstrations, organized sit-ins, established food banks, and built schools. Current congressman from Georgia and civil rights leader John Lewis said of Forman, “He was the glue that held the young people together during the most abrupt time of the civil rights movement.”

After he resigned from the SNCC in 1966, Forman became an advocate of black economic development and called for reparations for slavery.

Forman was a graduate of Roosevelt University in Chicago. Later in life, he completed a master’s degree in African and African-American studies at Cornell University. In 1982 he received a Ph.D. from the Union of Experimental Colleges and Universities.

Forman died in January 2005 from colon cancer. He was 76 years old.