Freedom Summer of ’64

Freedom Now Tshirt/Phone

Charlie and May Thompson, characters in Bourbon at the Border, spent the summer of 1964 in Mississippi. That summer over a 1,000 mostly young people rode down to Mississippi to help disenfranchised blacks register to vote.

In 1964 Mississippi had the lowest percentage of African Americans registered as voters at 6.7%. This statistic jumpstarted the Freedom Summer campaign organized by a coalition which included, the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO).

Freedom Summer activists face threats and harassment throughout the duration, from white supremacist groups and local residents and police. During that summer 37 black churches and 30 black homes and businesses were firebombed or burned. More than 1,000 black and white volunteers were arrested, and at least 80 were brutally beaten by white mobs or racist police officers.

Their efforts were not in vain. The voter registration drives brought national attention to the subject and led to the 1965 Voting Rights Act that outlawed the tactics that Southern states used to prevent blacks from voting. Additionally, by 1969, 5 years after Freedom Summer, 66.5% of Mississippi’s voting age blacks were registered to vote.





One Response

  1. Im obliged for the blog article.Really looking forward to read more.

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