Civil rights pioneer James Forman dies
Date: Wednesday, January 12, 2005
By: Associated Press
WASHINGTON - James Forman, a civil rights pioneer credited with organizing the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, has died of colon cancer, his son said Tuesday. He was 76.
Forman died at 11:20 p.m. Monday at a hospice in Washington, where he has lived for several years. Forman's son, Chaka Esmond Fanon Forman, said his father had been fighting cancer since 1991 and was surrounded by friends and family members when he died.
"He went very peacefully, just stopped breathing," Forman said in an interview with The Associated Press. "He was in no pain and no suffering."
A native of Chicago who grew up in Mississippi, Forman participated in the "Freedom Rides" in which supporters traveled across the South to bring attention to black struggle for equal treatment with whites, sometimes staging sit-ins and other acts of civil disobedience.
In the mid-1960s, Forman used his post as executive secretary of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee to strengthen the resolve of civil rights protesters and seek slavery reparations for blacks.
Dorie Ladner, a longtime friend and neighbor for several years in Washington, said Forman left his mark on the civil rights movement.
"He was very intelligent, a learned man with zeal for justice and equality," Ladner said. "He was fearless."