We build people. People build organisations. Organisations move.

James Bevel, of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference

James Bevel was an important organiser and aide to Martin Luther King in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He is also apparently, as I learned while writing this post, a child molester, which kind of damped my enthusiasm for posting his words. His behaviour in the book by Garrow which is the source of the quote is also less than salutary.

But the fact is that that’s about as succinct a formulation of one way of thinking about organisations as I’ve seen. The goal for movements of social change and empowerment should always be building up people within them. When the personnel becomes competent and empowered, they improve the structure of the organisation and make it capable of creating more people with political and organising skill sets. Eventually, a tipping point is reached and the organisation gains power.

No particular reason, I just happened to read it. Thought of the day.


David J. Garrow, Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Harper Perennial Classics (2004), p 449.


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