To the Editor of the CRIMSON:
Mr. McDougall's letter in the CRIMSON of April 28 clarifies the image of Harvard civil rights and my reported asking for a "Right Focus on One Area." But the point isn't quite clear yet.
I share Mr. McDougall's opinion that a "Harvard project," at least right now, would be inadvisable. If he means that there should never be a focusing of Harvard concerns in a particular community I do not agree with him. I suspect he is correct in saying Harvard has "less faculty-student participation in civil rights" than smaller Brandeis. I do not view this as a good thing and I would like to help change it.
Further, in agreement with Mr. McDougall, I would never give my personal support to "a mass of academically-oriented people 'organizing' a local community" unless they lived in it or established an identity with it. I agree that Harvard people, and perhaps even its corporation members and students who are engaged in civil rights work. These things needed to be said.
In these respects the article in the CRIMSON interpreted a "Harvard project" as other than that which I envisioned and the clarifications are welcome.
However, there is a sense in which the CRIMSON has interpreted me correctly. I am interested in discovering whether a continuing relationship of some faculty and some students, who probably came from someplace else to be at Harvard, might be established with some persons in a southern city or county where there might also be another college or university. I would not be average to seeing relationships established with more than one local community. I do not envisage such a relationship as being unduly northern-based or directed but fully cooperative.
If in the coming summer individual students or faculty, in response to requests for assistance, prove capable of providing it without destroying local initiative and leadership and are useful in local movements for civil rights, then I think it might be very appropriate to assure that there be a continuance of that support over a period of years through a sucession of students and faculty, backed with money, who maintain constant touch with the local communities.
What I am calling for is for those individuals who do spend the summer in civil rights or community organization work to keep their minds and eyes open to the possibility that what they are doing might well need to be continued and supported by other Harvard who are not inexperienced and who do not stifie indigenous movements. I trust there will be better for it. Being at Harvard does not necessarily disqualify us from being responsible participants in the social revolution of our times. The Reverend Richard E. Mumma United Ministry