Revisiting Freedom Summer
June 21, 2014 Leave a Comment
50 summers ago, a historic effort to shatter the foundations of white supremacy in Mississippi changed everything. In the summer of 1964, over 700 student volunteers joined organizers and local African Americans in what was then the nation’s most segregated state. The group set their hopes high, but knew that the risks were great.
“It was always in the back of people’s minds that something bad was going to happen. But if you cared about Democracy and you cared about this country, then you had to go down.” – Freedom Summer participant
Together, the brave group canvassed for African American voter registration and created Freedom Schools. They also created the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, which was formed in the hopes that it could go up against the segregationist state Democratic Party at the national convention.
These trailblazers faced a great deal of opposition, including extreme violence. During their efforts, three civil rights leaders were murdered, 35 churches were burned and 70 homes and Freedom houses were bombed.
Freedom Summer: American Experience tells the moving story of that momentous summer. Be sure to tune into Wisconsin Public Television 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 24 to view the full documentary.