|Mt. Zion Church state history marker near Philadelphia, Mississippi|
Freedom Summer (also known as the Mississippi Summer Project) was a campaign in the United States launched in June 1964 to attempt to register as many African-American voters as possible in Mississippi, which had historically excluded most blacks from voting. The project also set up dozens of Freedom Schools, Freedom Houses, and community centers in small towns throughout Mississippi to aid the local black population.All that blood, sweat, tears, and sacrifice wiped away with a 5-4 vote, which cleared the way for red, republican controlled, confederate, slave states to enact Voter Suppression, I mean, ID laws.
The project was organized by the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO), a coalition of the Mississippi branches of the four major civil rights organizations (SNCC, CORE, NAACP and SCLC). Most of the impetus, leadership, and financing for the Summer Project came from the SNCC. Robert Parris Moses, SNCC field secretary and co-director of COFO, directed the summer project.
Less than 48 hours after the Supreme Court struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, six of the nine states that had been covered in their entirety under the law’s “preclearance” formula have already taken steps toward restricting voting.Now that we have proof positive the Voter ID laws disenfranchised eligible, registered, voters it's time to repeal them.
With Alabama’s voter ID law debuting today, state Republicans are offering a big cash reward to anyone who helps them dig up some voter fraud. But finding voters disenfranchised by the law isn’t difficult, even without financial incentives.Must See TV
Willie Mims, 93, showed up to vote at his polling place in Escambia County Tuesday morning for Alabama’s primary elections. Mims, who is African-American, no longer drives, doesn’t have a license, and has no other form of ID. As a result, he was turned away without voting. Mims wasn’t even offered the chance to cast a provisional ballot, as the law requires in that situation.
"Freedom Summer," which premieres Tuesday at 9 p.m. on PBS. The "American Experience" film captures the idealism that inspired an interracial group of college students to journey to Mississippi for 10 weeks in the summer of 1964 to register African-American voters.Must See Video
But it also reveals what happened when that idealism collided with the casual brutality of white Mississippians who saw Freedom Summer as a "nigger communist invasion."
"Ain't gonna let nobody turn me around"
Must read Blog
The Tragic Success of Freedom Summer
Sentimentality has its place, but we risk losing sight of the hard-nosed political calculations that informed and drove the initiative. The architects of Freedom Summer were shrewd, pragmatic veterans of a brutal street fight. They didn’t need the help of 1,000 privileged, affluent white students—not, at least, to register voters. Nor were they asking for reinforcements. Rather, they wagered that if white students from prominent Northern families were arrested, beaten and illegally jailed—as they fully expected they would be—the federal government would finally recognize its responsibility to intervene in Mississippi.It's past time for our government to intervene so we can have fair and free elections in America again.