Known As One Of The Civil Rights Movement's "Big 4," -- Along With Martin Luther King, Jr., Roy Wilkins (Chief Of The NAACP) And Whitney Young ( Urban League Head) -- Farmer Co-Founded The Congress Of Racial Equality (CORE) In 1942, And Played A Major Role In Charting the Course Of The Struggle For Black Civil Rights During The 1950's And 1960's.
CORE Sought To Bring An End To Racial Segregation In America Through Active Nonviolence (Ghandian Philosophy). Farmer Was The Organization's First Leader, Serving As the National Chairman From 1942 To 1944. With Farmer As A Key Strategist, CORE Led Freedom Rides In 1961. It Was A Nonviolent Initiative To Desegregate Interstate Buses And Terminals, But Participants Did Encounter Violence. He Also Helped Recruit CORE Members, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, Who Were Murdered In Mississippi During The Freedom Rides.
Farmer Resigned From CORE In 1966 To Teach At Lincoln University And New York University. President Bill Clinton Awarded Him The Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1998.
James L. Farmer Jr. Was A Kind Of Child Prodigy. At The Age of 14, He Was Attending Wiley College And Was On The Debate Team. This Has Been Portrayed In The 2007 Film, "The Great Debaters," Directed By And Starring Denzel Washington. Farmer Died July 9, 1999, Of Complications From Diabetes. He Was 79.
"In Order For Black History To Live, We Must Continue To Breathe Life Into It." -- Hubert Gaddy, Jr.