1964 Platform of the Mississippi Freedom School
August 7-9, 1964. Meridian, Mississippi
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Education & Democracy.)
PDF scan of original mimeographed document.
[On August 6, 1964,
Mississippi Freedom Democratic
Party (MFDP) holds a state-wide convention in Jackson to elect
delegates to, and prepare for, the
Two days later, student delegates from
Freedom Schools across
Mississippi convene their own state-wide, student convention in
Meridian. The MFDP convention in Jackson focuses mainly on electing
party officers and delegates and the stratery for challenging
Mississippi's all-white "Regular" delegation at the party convention
in Atlantic City. The students focus mainly on issues and program. To
answer the question "When we elect people to government office, what
do we want them to do?" they adopt the platform below. For more
information, see Freedom Schools
Concept and Organization.]
- We resolve that the Public Accommodations and Public Facilities
sections of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 be enforced.
- We demand new and better recreation facilities for all.
- We support the right of the Negro people and their white
supporters to test the Civil Rights Act via demonstrations such as
sit-ins. We are not urging a blood-bath through this means; we are
simply demanding our Constitutional right to public assembly and
seeking to test the Federal government's position.
- Conversion of public accommodations into private clubs should be
treated as a violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The home, being the center of a child's life as well as the center of a
family's, must have certain facilities in order for it to be a home and
not just a building in which one eats, sleeps, and prepares to leave
for the rest of the day. Therefore, be it resolved:
- That there be an equal-opportunity-to-buy-law which permits all
persons to purchase a home in any section of town in which he can
afford to live.
- That a rent control law be passed and that one should pay
according to the condition of the house.
- That a building code for home construction be established which
includes the following minimum housing requirements:
- A complete bathroom unit
- A kitchen sink
- A central heating system
- Insulated walls and ceiling
- A laundry room and pantry space
- An adequate wiring system providing for at least three electrical
outlets in the living room and kitchen, and at least two such outlets
in the bedroom and bath
- At least a quarter of an acre of land per building lot
- A basement and attic.
- That zoning regulations be enacted and enforced to keep
undesirable and unsightly industries and commercial operations away
from residential neighborhoods.
- That slums be cleared, and a low cost federal housing project be
established to house these people.
- That federal aid be given for the improvement of houses, with long
term low interest loans.
- That the Federal government provide money for new housing
developments in the state. Anyone could buy these houses with a down
payment and low monthly rate. There must be absolutely no
discrimination. The federal government should take action if this law
is not complied with.
- That a federal law make sure that the projects are integrated and
that they are run fairly.
- That there be lower taxes on improvements in the houses so that
more people will fix up their house.
- That the federal government buy and sell land at low rates to
people who want to build there.
In an age where machines are rapidly replacing manual labor, job
opportunities and economic security increasingly require higher levels
of education. We therefore demand:
- Better facilities in all schools. These would include textbooks,
laboratories, air conditioning, heating, recreation, and lunch rooms.
- A broader curriculum including vocational subjects and foreign
- Low fee adult classes for better jobs.
- That the school year consist of nine (9) consecutive months.
- Exchange programs and public kindergarten.
- Better qualified teachers with salaries according to
- Forced retirement (women 62, men 65).
- Special schools for mentally retarded and treatment and care of
cerebral palsy victims.
- That taxpayers' money not be used to provide private schools.
- That all schools be integrated and equal throughout the country.
- Academic freedom for teachers and students.
- That teachers be able to join any political organization to fight
for Civil Rights without fear of being fired.
- That teacher brutality be eliminated.
- Each school should have fully developed health, first aid, and
physical education programs. These programs should be assisted by at
least one registered nurse.
- Mobile units, chest x-rays semi-annually and a check-up at least
once a year by licensed doctors, the local health department or a
clinic should be provided by the local or state government.
- All medical facilities should have both integrated staff and
integrated facilities for all patients.
- Mental health facilities should be integrated and better staffed.
- Homes for the aged should be created.
- Free medical care should be provided for all those who are not
able to pay the cost of hospital bills.
- We demand state and local government inspection of all health
- All doctors should be paid by skill, not by race.
- Titles should be given to the staff.
- The federal government should help the organization pay the
salaries of workers.
- All patients should be addressed properly.
- We actively seek the abolition of any sterilization act which
serves as punishment, voluntary or involuntary, for any offense.
- In a reasonable time we seek the establishment of a center for the
treatment and care of cerebral palsy victims.
The United States should stop supporting dictatorships in other
countries and should support that government which the majority of the
- Whereas the policy of apartheid in the Republic of South Africa is
detrimental to all the people of that country and against the concepts
of equality and justice, we ask that the United States impose economic
sanctions in order to end this policy.
- We ask that there be an equitable balance between the domestic and
foreign economic and social support provided by our country.
- We demand that a Public Works Program be set up by the federal
government to create jobs for the unemployed.
- Because of discrimination in the past, we demand preferential
treatment for the Negro in the granting of federal aid in education
and training programs until integration is accomplished.
- To help fight unemployment, we demand that federal funds be lent
communities to set up industries and whole towns which shall be
publicly owned by the communities, for example: textile and paper
mills, stores, schools, job relocation programs for those put out of
work by automation, job retraining, recreational facilities, banks,
- We demand that social security benefits should be given according
to need, and not according to how much one earned previously. In
addition, we demand guaranteed income of at least $3,000.00 annually
for every citizen.
- The federal government should give aid to students who wish to
study for the professions and who do not have the necessary funds.
- We feel that federal aid in Mississippi is not being distributed
equally among the people. Therefore we adopt Title VI of the Civil
Rights Law which deals with federal aid. We demand federal agents
appointed to Mississippi expressly for this purpose. We demand that
action be taken against the state of Mississippi so that this aid may
be distributed fairly.
- We demand that the federal government divert part of the funds now
used for defense into additional federal aid appropriations.
- We demand that the federal government refuse to contract with
corporations that employ non-union labor, engage in unfair labor
practices, or practice racial discrimination.
- We demand that the federal government immediately open to Negroes
all employment opportunities and recruitment programs under their
auspices, such as in post offices, Veterans Hospitals, and defense
- The fair employment section (Title VII) of the 1964 Civil Rights
law be immediately and fully enforced.
- The guarantee of fair employment be extended fully to all aspects
of labor, particularly training programs.
- We encourage the establishment of more unions in Mississippi, to
attract more industry to the state.
- We will encourage and support more strikes for better jobs and
adequate pay. During the strikes the employers should be enjoined from
having others replace the striking workers.
- Vocational institutions must be established for high school
graduates and dropouts.
- The federal Minimum Wage law be extended to include all workers
especially agriculture and domestic workers.
- Cotton planting allotments to be made on the basis of family size.
- We want an extension of the Manpower Retraining Program.
- Whenever a factory is automated, management must find new jobs for
- Workers should be paid in accordance with their qualifications and
the type of work done.
THE PLANTATION SYSTEM
- The federal government should force plantation owners to build and
maintain fair tenant housing.
- In cases where the plantation farmers are not being adequately
paid according to the Minimum Wage Law, the government should
intervene on behalf of the farmers in suit against the plantation
- Citizens of Mississippi should be entitled to employ out-of-state
- Section Two of the Fourteenth Amendment should be enforced,
specifically in Mississippi and other Southern States, until the voter
registration practices are changed.
- The citizens should have the privilege of exercising their
- to assemble,
- to petition,
to freedom of the press,
- to freedom of speech
in such ways as picketing, passing out leaflets and demonstrations. We
oppose all laws that deprive citizens of the above rights.
- We want the abolition of the House Unamerican Activities Committee
because it deprives citizens of their Constitutional rights.
- We resolve that the Freedom Movement should accept people
regardless of religion, race, political views or national origin if
they comply with the rules of the movement.
- We want qualified Negroes appointed to the police force in large
numbers. We want them to be able to arrest anyone breaking the law,
regardless of race, creed of color.
- All police must possess warrants when they demand to enter a house
and search the premises. In the absence of a search warrant, the
police must give a reasonable explanation of what they are looking
for. In any case, with or without a warrant, no damage should be done
unnecessarily to property, and if damage is done, it should be paid
- A national committee should be set up to check police procedures,
to insure the safety of people in jail: their food, sleeping and
health facilities; to protect them from mobs, and to see that no
violence is done to them.
- All cases against law enforcement agencies or involving civil
rights should be tried in federal courts.
- Law enforcement officers should provide protection against such
hate groups as the KKK. Police and public officials should not belong
to any group that encourages or practices violence.
- The city should finance paving and widening of the streets and
installing of drain systems in them.
- Sidewalks must be placed along all streets.
- A better system of garbage disposal, including more frequent
pickups, must be devised.
- Streets should be adequately lighted.
- We oppose nuclear testing in residential areas.
- The poll tax must be eliminated.
- Writing and interpreting of the Constitution is to be eliminated.
- We demand further that registration procedures be administered
without discrimination, and that all intimidation of prospective
voters be ended through federal supervision and investigation by the
FBI and Justice Department.
- We want guards posted at ballot boxes during counting of votes.
- The minimum age for voting should be lowered to 18 years.
- We seek for legislation to require the county registrar or one of
his deputies to keep the voter registration books open five days a
week except during holidays, and open noon hours and early evening so
that they would be accessible to day workers. Registrars should be
required by law to treat all people seeking to register equally.
- To support Ruleville, we call for a state-wide school
demonstration, urging teachers to vote, and asking for better,
- We support nonviolence, picketing and demonstrations.
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