- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 11, 2005

James Forman, 76, SNCC organizer

James Forman, a civil rights pioneer credited with organizing the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, died Jan. 10 of colon cancer at a hospice in the District. He was 76.

Mr. Forman’s son, Chaka Esmond Fanon Forman, said his father had been fighting cancer since 1991 and was surrounded by friends and family when he died.

“He went very peacefully — just stopped breathing,” Mr. Forman told the Associated Press. “He was in no pain and no suffering.”

A native of Chicago, Mr. Forman grew up in Mississippi and participated in the “freedom rides” in which blacks rode across the South as a way to make sure buses were indeed integrated as ordered by the courts.

In the mid-1960s, he 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 Mr. Forman left a mark on the history of the movement.

“He was very intelligent, a learned man with zeal for justice and equality,” Miss Ladner said. “He was fearless.”

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