There is no single leader. There is no agreed schedule. Organizers aren't even certain where everyone is supposed to gather, let alone use the restroom. The only thing that is known for sure is that thousands of protesters are boarding buses at churches, colleges and community centers across the country this week, headed for this tiny dot on the map of central Louisiana.[..]
Yet this will be a civil rights protest literally conjured out of the ether of cyberspace, of a type that has never happened before in America-a collective national mass action grown from a grassroots word-of-mouth movement spread via Internet blogs, e-mails, message boards and talk radio.
Jackson, Sharpton and other big-name civil rights figures, far from leading this movement, have had to scramble to catch up. So, too, has the national media, which has only recently noticed a story that has been agitating many black Americans for months.
As formidable as it is amorphous, this new African-American blogosphere, which scarcely even existed a year ago, now comprises hundreds of interlinked blogs and tens of the thousands of followers who within a matter of a few weeks collected 220,000 petition signatures-and more than $130,000 in donations for legal fees-in support of six black Jena teenagers who are being prosecuted on felony battery charges for beating a white student.