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Fannie Lou Hamer grew up as one of 20 children born to sharecroppers in rural Mississippi. She and her husband were eking out a living as sharecroppers near Ruleville when, at the age of 44, she decided to attend a mass meeting about voting in 1962. Hamer quickly became a leader of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee's voting rights…

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Item Type: Speech
Date: 1964

A coalition of activists led by the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) initiated a statewide direct-action voter registration and education campaign in Mississippi. Although most remembered for 1964's Freedom Summer, when black and white college students traveled south to participate, SNCC's campaign started in 1961. Organizers…

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Item Type: Quantitative Data
Date: 1966

The three murdered civil rights workers from the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer Project are pictured on this FBI "missing" poster. On June 21st, Andrew Goodman, James Chaney, and Michael Schwerner were abducted and killed by Klansmen in an effort to intimidate volunteers working to register black voters. Their badly beaten bodies were found weeks…

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Item Type: Poster/Print
Date: 1964

This curriculum was created by members of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) for their Freedom Schools, part of the Freedom Summer organizing effort that brought hundreds of college students from around the country to Mississippi in the summer of 1964. SNCC hoped that the Freedom Schools would serve as a "parallel institution" to…

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Item Type: Pamphlet/Petition
Date: 1964

This plan, written by Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) member Charles Cobb, proposed that SNCC include Freedom Schools as part of the massive organizing effort it was planning for the summer of 1964. SNCC was creating Freedom Summer to bring hundreds of college students from around the country to Mississippi, and Cobb believed that…

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Item Type: Pamphlet/Petition
Date: 1963

The Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) was a coalition of civil rights organizations that formed in Mississippi in 1962 to coordinate voter registration efforts and broader equal rights reforms. In 1964, COFO launched Freedom Summer, in which thousands of local black Mississippians and hundreds of black and white students from out of state…

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Item Type: Pamphlet/Petition
Date: Circa 1963

Hattiesburg, Mississippi, "The Mecca of the Freedom School World," was home to at least seven Freedom Schools (mostly held in church basements) and more than 650 students. Since local segregated black schools did not teach topics like civics or African-American history, these subjects were important parts of the Freedom School curriculum.

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Item Type: Photograph
Date: 1964

Freedom Summer featured not only voter registration drives and "Freedom Schools" for students, but also many performances by folksingers and theater groups. Traveling theater troupes and nationally acclaimed folksinger Pete Singer came to Hattiesburg, Mississippi, but performers also included local musicians and actors who taught Freedom School…

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Item Type: Photograph
Date: 1964

Herbert Randall's photographs vividly capture the energy, spirit, and excitement of Freedom Summer in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Here, some of the 650 or so Freedom School students display their artwork with a gallery decorated by the children's handprints and the word "Freedom." Cecil, the boy on the left, was the son of Victoria Jackson Gray, a…

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Item Type: Photograph
Date: 1964

A copy of the Security Handbook given to participants in the "Freedom Summer" campaign in Mississippi in 1964 highlights the dangers that young civil rights workers were exposed to. Tragically, the precautions suggested by the handbook proved insufficient; three young volunteers, James Chaney, Michael Schwerner, and Andrew Goodman were abducted and…

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Item Type: Government Document
Date: Circa 1964