Reporters on the Job

Birth of a Civil Rights Movement? Correspondent Susan Sachs started following France's nascent black civil rights movement several months ago. In her story, she describes a meeting in Paris between a visiting Edgar Chase III, a visiting African-American business professor from Dillard University in New Orleans, La., and about 20 members of the rights group.

"The session reminded me of what I imagine must have gone on in Mississippi in the 1960s. What surprised me, and I think Professor Chase, was how eager the people were to protest, and embrace the American civil rights movement as a model," she says.

Susan's perception of the event, held in a Paris government office after hours, was that the professor had come to give a prosaic speech about the history of his university and family. "He was suddenly drawn into a vigorous nuts-and-bolts discussion about the US civil rights movement. They asked, 'Tell us how you did this?' and 'How did you make these organizational links?' "

She recalls that one of the French participants said, "If we do these marches or call for boycotts, people will be angry." "The professor replied: 'Yes, you will make people uncomfortable.' They loved that," says Susan.

The energy and enthusiasm of those attending the meeting appeared to crystallize something for the group's leadership, she says: "It was time to take a stand and shake things up."

David Clark Scott
World editor

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