Freedom Summer: The Savage Season That Made Mississippi Burn and Made America a Democracy

Freedom Summer: The Savage Season That Made Mississippi Burn and Made America a Democracy

3.5 7
by Bruce Watson
     
 

"Bruce Watson captures, with skill and sensitivity, the drama of that historic summer in Mississippi. He reports the continuous violence, the almost unbearable tension, but also conveys the courage and persistence of black and white volunteers who would remember the experience for the rest of their lives. He does this through personal stories that are poignant and

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"Bruce Watson captures, with skill and sensitivity, the drama of that historic summer in Mississippi. He reports the continuous violence, the almost unbearable tension, but also conveys the courage and persistence of black and white volunteers who would remember the experience for the rest of their lives. He does this through personal stories that are poignant and inspiring. This is the best account I have seen of Freedom Summer."---Howard Zinn" "I read with special interest this wonderfully instructive and compellingly written historical account of a fateful and decisive moment in America's twentieth-century struggle to become, finally, in all of our states, a country of áequal justice under the law.' I happened to be in Mississippi back then, and as I read this book, I became so very grateful to its historian-writer for his piously arresting contribution to our knowledge of what happened, where, and why. Here is a past of fear and hate, but also of courage and bravery, all given a narrator's---a scholar's---knowing and wise documentary attention."---Robert Coles Harvard University" "In this country's long struggle with racial injustice, the summer of 1964 in Mississippi was a pivotal moment. All Americans should know this piece of history, and as someone who participated in a very small way, I am glad to see it evoked so vividly in this book. Bruce Watson has told an important story, and told it well."---Adam Hochschild author of King Leopold's Ghost" "Bruce Watson's Freedom Summer is an exalting narrative of a pivotal moment in American history when the status quo of segregation in Mississippi began to crumble through a unique coming-together of heroic local folk and northern volunteers of good will. Watson's broad command of this story caused me to remember incidents I had forgotten, and to learn many things I never knew. Youthful idealism extracted a high cost in the summer of 1964, but democracy was the lasting beneficiary, as he reminds us on every page. This book made me very happy and proud."---Susan Brownmiller author of Against Our Will; volunteer in the Mississippi Summer Project, Meridian, 1964." "at the height of the civil rights movement, more than seven hundred American college students descended upon segregated, reactionary Mississippi to register black voters and educate black children. Working side by side with members of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, they would set up Freedom Schools and travel door-to-door in poor black neighborhoods bearing a message of equality. On the night of their arrival, the worst fears of a race-tornation were realized: three volunteers---Andrew Goodman, James Cheney, and Michael Schwerner---disapeared, suspected of being killed by the Ku Klux Klan. So began Freedom Summer." "Bruce Watson's riveting narrative of these incredible months shines new light on one of the most remarkable episodes in American history. Mississippi in 1960 was a land out of time, seared by memories of the Civil War and accustomed to meeting questions fanned across the state, tensions mounted; soon the beatings intensified, and churches burned. And yet slowly, at times imperceptibly, change came to Mississippi, as its black citizens grew willing to risk their lives in search of the ultimate prize---the freedom to choose their own destiny. This powerful story, framed by the FBI's relutant investigation of the men's disappearance, would lead in two directions: to a terrible secret at the bottom of an earth-fill dam in Neshoba County, and to the shores of Atlantic City, where the summer's work came to a riveting climax at the 1964 Democratic National Convention." Taking us inside Freedom schools and into the spare yet dignified homes of Mississippi's black community, Freedom Summer presents finely rendered portraits of SNCC staffers and volunteers; of black and white Mississippians alike; and of the legendary figures---Martin Luther King Jr., Pete Seeger, J. Edgar Hoover, and others---who would find their lives shaped by the summer's unforgettable events. It captures America at a critical moment of nascent change, when the power of idealism could not be destroyed by killing its messengers, and the promise of justice cast its long, cooling shadow across the land.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780670021703
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
06/10/2010
Pages:
384
Product dimensions:
6.54(w) x 9.42(h) x 1.27(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Table of Contents

Book One Crossroads 3

Prologue 5

Chapter One "There Is a Moral Wave Building" 15

Chapter Two "Not Even Past" 38

Chapter Three Freedom Street 56

Chapter Four "The Decisive Battlefield for America" 77

Chapter Five "It Is Sure Enough Changing" 105

Chapter Six "The Scars of the System" 129

Interlude: "Another So-Called áFreedom Day'" 152

Book Two A Bloody Peace Written in the Sky 167

Chapter Seven "Walk Together, Children" 169

Chapter Eight "The Summer of Our Discontent" 191

Chapter Nine "Lay by Time" 215

Chapter Ten "The Stuff Democracy Is Made Of" 237

Chapter Eleven "Give unto Them Beauty for Ashes" 262

Epilogue 277

Acknowledgments 301

Notes 303

Bibliography 341

Index 353

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