James Forman's Early Work
In 1958, Forman became involved in the Civil Rights Movement in the South when he covered the Little Rock, Arkansas school desegregation crisis for the black newspaper, the Chicago Defender. Through a program organized by the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), Forman also helped provide food and clothing to 700 Fayetteville, Tennessee sharecropper families who had been evicted for registering to vote. This shows the passion that Forman had for what he believed in and the great desire he had to make a difference (Vanderbilt University).
Forman's Involvement in the SNCC
After he was expelled from the disintegrating SNCC in 1968, Forman joined the League of Revolutionary Black Workers. In April 1969 he and other League members took control of the National Black Economic Development Conference in Detroit, and a month later he interrupted a service at New York's Riverside Church to read his "Black Manifesto," a demand that white churches pay half a billion dollars to blacks as reparations for previous exploitation. He received a master's degree in African and Afro-American history from Cornell University and a Ph.D. from the Union of Experimental Colleges and Universities. In 1981 he published his thesis, Self-Determination and the African-American People, in which he advocated an autonomous black nation in the Black Belt region of the United States (Stanford University).