Lessons of Tent City and Our World Today

The lessons of Tent City reach beyond the facts and circumstances of Fayette County in the 1960s. Despite a civil war, the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution ensuring equal protection under the law, the Civil Rights Movement, passage of the landmark Civil Rights of 1964 and 1965, and other legislation, America continues to struggle with racial inequality and other social disparities that challenge our democratic ideal that all people are equal and are entitled to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." The stories of Fayette County activists show that the continuing struggle to redress racial or other inequalities requires the sacrifice of those who appear to be in the weakest position to expend personal or other resources. However, it is because of the strength of such activists and because of their individual sacrifices that sometimes sweeping, but more often, incremental changes, can be achieved to create a more just and inclusive nation.

children in tents
©Dr. Ernest Withers, Sr. courtesy of the Withers Family Trust​