Freedom Summer: The 1964 Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi

Overview

Fifty years after the landmark civil rights project in Mississippi, an award-winning author offers a riveting account of events that stunned the nation.

In 1964, Mississippi civil rights groups banded together to fight Jim Crow laws in a state where 6.4 percent of eligible black voters were registered. They recruited thousands of student volunteers from across the United States who defied segregation by living with local black hosts, opening Freedom Schools, and canvassing to ...

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Overview

Fifty years after the landmark civil rights project in Mississippi, an award-winning author offers a riveting account of events that stunned the nation.

In 1964, Mississippi civil rights groups banded together to fight Jim Crow laws in a state where 6.4 percent of eligible black voters were registered. They recruited thousands of student volunteers from across the United States who defied segregation by living with local black hosts, opening Freedom Schools, and canvassing to register voters. Everyone involved knew there would be risks but were nonetheless shocked when during the first week three civil rights workers disappeared and were found murdered. The organizers' worst fears were realized as volunteers, local activists, and hosts faced terror on a daily basis.

The summer unleashed an unstoppable wave of determination from black Mississippians to demand their rights and helped bring about a new political order in the American South.

The book, which offers new interviews with primary sources, is illustrated with many never-before-seen photographs, historical documents, maps, and drawings.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA, August 2014 (Vol. 37, No. 3) - Beth H. Green
In honor of the fiftieth anniversary of the civil rights project in Mississippi, Rubin has created a narrative retelling of the events and occurrences from the summer of 1964. Chock-full of primary sources, such as photographs, memos sent to applicants regarding the growing tensions in Mississippi, and pencil drawings depicting various settings from Neshoba County, Mississippi, Freedom Summer is organized in a time-line fashion, from June 1964 until late August 1964. Younger readers (publisher recommends ages ten and up) will be exposed to the violence that was widespread throughout the South during the Civil Rights movement, but not in a gratuitously graphic manner. Also included within the title are remarks about our society today and where we stand in regard to civil rights. According to Charles McLaurin, one of the founding members of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, which was formed in the summer of 1964, as a result of the increasing civil rights problems, “The Movement never stops.” An extensive time line, appendixes, source notes, bibliography, and index are also present, which is helpful for those readers who need further information. Rubin has done an excellent job of presenting facts in a way that causes the reader to feel empathy for those who were persecuted based only on their skin color, as well as for those who volunteered to help others, simply because they felt compelled to stand up for fellow men. Reviewer: Beth H. Green; Ages 11 to 18.
Children's Literature - Mary Quattlebaum
In this powerful, moving history, Susan Goldman Rubin tells of the struggle, fifty years before the summer of 2014, for civil rights in Mississippi. And she celebrates those whose unstinting efforts proved pivotal to change: Bob Moses, Fannie Lou Hamer, three slain Freedom volunteers Andrew Goodman, James Earl Chaney, Michael Schwerner and many others. Rubin also brings the story into the present by focusing on the re-opening of the trial for the murder of the three young men in 2005 and acknowledging the impact Freedom Summer had on subsequent legislation and on national events. Historic photographs, illustrations, newspaper clippings, and a timeline help give young people a sense of the discussed time and place. Reviewer: Mary Quattlebaum; Ages 9 up.
School Library Journal
★ 05/01/2014
Gr 9 Up—Fifty years after the Freedom Summer murders, this meticulously researched, compellingly told account covers an incredible moment in history. Mickey Schwerner, Andrew Goodman, and James Chaney were three young civil rights workers who decided to work for the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) to confront bigotry in Mississippi and register African Americans to vote. They left for Meridian, accompanied by student volunteers from across the United States, (where only 6.4 percent of eligible African American voters were registered.) Schwerner, Goodman, and Chaney were killed by Klansmen after being arrested. Their deaths deepened the conviction of the others and served to engender incredible strides in the forward momentum of the civil rights movement. This work gives a real sense of the time and place, the issues and the opposing sides, and the impact on the nation. Including myriad period photos and drawings, facsimiles of reports and records, meticulous source notes, an extensive bibliography, picture credits, and an extensive index, this title is the epitome of excellent historical reporting, with the human element never forgotten.—Ann Welton, Grant Elementary School, Tacoma, WA
Kirkus Reviews
2014-03-17
In time for the 50th anniversary of the pivotal civil rights event, Rubin presents heroes, villains and everyday people in 1964 Mississippi. Freedom schools, voter-registration drives and murders drew national attention to Mississippi during the Freedom Summer, and actions there affected the civil rights movement elsewhere, all culminating in the Voting Rights Act, signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965. The number of eligible black voters rose from 6.4 percent prior to Freedom Summer to 60 percent by the end of 1966. Two threads weave through Rubin's narrative—a detailed story of the murders of civil rights workers Mickey Schwerner, James Chaney and Andrew Goodman and a less focused, anecdotal picture of freedom schools and voter registration, drawing on extensive personal interviews. Though archival material and many photographs are included, too many pages of dense text are unrelieved by visuals. The extensive research is well-documented, and young readers may find much of interest in the websites recommended. Overall, the account is accessible and passionate, taking the events of that violent summer into the present, when, in 2005, 80-year-old, wheelchair-bound Edgar Ray Killen was found guilty of the murders of Schwerner, Chaney and Goodman and sentenced to three 20-year jail terms. A fascinating treatment of a key civil rights moment. (Nonfiction. 10-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780823429202
  • Publisher: Holiday House, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/14/2014
  • Pages: 128
  • Sales rank: 361,946
  • Lexile: 980L (what's this?)

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