1964 Platform of the Mississippi Freedom School Convention
August 7-9, 1964. Meridian, Mississippi

(From the Freedom School Curriculum Website! ~ Education & Democracy.)

PDF scan of original mimeographed document.

[On August 6, 1964, the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) holds a state-wide convention in Jackson to elect delegates to, and prepare for, the Democratic Convention. 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.]

PUBLIC ACCOMMODATIONS

  1. We resolve that the Public Accommodations and Public Facilities sections of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 be enforced.

  2. We demand new and better recreation facilities for all.

  3. 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.

  4. Conversion of public accommodations into private clubs should be treated as a violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

HOUSING

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:

  1. 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.

  2. That a rent control law be passed and that one should pay according to the condition of the house.

  3. That a building code for home construction be established which includes the following minimum housing requirements:
    1. A complete bathroom unit
    2. A kitchen sink
    3. A central heating system
    4. Insulated walls and ceiling
    5. A laundry room and pantry space
    6. 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
    7. At least a quarter of an acre of land per building lot
    8. A basement and attic.

  4. That zoning regulations be enacted and enforced to keep undesirable and unsightly industries and commercial operations away from residential neighborhoods.

  5. That slums be cleared, and a low cost federal housing project be established to house these people.

  6. That federal aid be given for the improvement of houses, with long term low interest loans.

  7. 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.

  8. That a federal law make sure that the projects are integrated and that they are run fairly.

  9. That there be lower taxes on improvements in the houses so that more people will fix up their house.

  10. That the federal government buy and sell land at low rates to people who want to build there.

EDUCATION

In an age where machines are rapidly replacing manual labor, job opportunities and economic security increasingly require higher levels of education. We therefore demand:

  1. Better facilities in all schools. These would include textbooks, laboratories, air conditioning, heating, recreation, and lunch rooms.

  2. A broader curriculum including vocational subjects and foreign languages.

  3. Low fee adult classes for better jobs.

  4. That the school year consist of nine (9) consecutive months.

  5. Exchange programs and public kindergarten.

  6. Better qualified teachers with salaries according to qualification.

  7. Forced retirement (women 62, men 65).

  8. Special schools for mentally retarded and treatment and care of cerebral palsy victims.

  9. That taxpayers' money not be used to provide private schools.

  10. That all schools be integrated and equal throughout the country.

  11. Academic freedom for teachers and students.

  12. That teachers be able to join any political organization to fight for Civil Rights without fear of being fired.

  13. That teacher brutality be eliminated.

HEALTH

  1. Each school should have fully developed health, first aid, and physical education programs. These programs should be assisted by at least one registered nurse.

  2. 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.

  3. All medical facilities should have both integrated staff and integrated facilities for all patients.

  4. Mental health facilities should be integrated and better staffed.

  5. Homes for the aged should be created.

  6. Free medical care should be provided for all those who are not able to pay the cost of hospital bills.

  7. We demand state and local government inspection of all health facilities.

  8. All doctors should be paid by skill, not by race.

  9. Titles should be given to the staff.

  10. The federal government should help the organization pay the salaries of workers.

  11. All patients should be addressed properly.

  12. We actively seek the abolition of any sterilization act which serves as punishment, voluntary or involuntary, for any offense.

  13. In a reasonable time we seek the establishment of a center for the treatment and care of cerebral palsy victims.

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

  1. The United States should stop supporting dictatorships in other countries and should support that government which the majority of the people want.

  2. 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.

  3. We ask that there be an equitable balance between the domestic and foreign economic and social support provided by our country.

FEDERAL AID

  1. We demand that a Public Works Program be set up by the federal government to create jobs for the unemployed.

  2. 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.

  3. 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, hospitals.

  4. 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.

  5. The federal government should give aid to students who wish to study for the professions and who do not have the necessary funds.

  6. 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.

  7. We demand that the federal government divert part of the funds now used for defense into additional federal aid appropriations.

  8. 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.

JOB DISCRIMINATION

  1. 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 bases.

  2. The fair employment section (Title VII) of the 1964 Civil Rights law be immediately and fully enforced.

  3. The guarantee of fair employment be extended fully to all aspects of labor, particularly training programs.

  4. We encourage the establishment of more unions in Mississippi, to attract more industry to the state.

  5. 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.

  6. Vocational institutions must be established for high school graduates and dropouts.

  7. The federal Minimum Wage law be extended to include all workers especially agriculture and domestic workers.

  8. Cotton planting allotments to be made on the basis of family size.

  9. We want an extension of the Manpower Retraining Program.

  10. Whenever a factory is automated, management must find new jobs for the workers.

  11. Workers should be paid in accordance with their qualifications and the type of work done.

THE PLANTATION SYSTEM

  1. The federal government should force plantation owners to build and maintain fair tenant housing.

  2. 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 owner.

CIVIL LIBERTIES

  1. Citizens of Mississippi should be entitled to employ out-of-state lawyers.

  2. Section Two of the Fourteenth Amendment should be enforced, specifically in Mississippi and other Southern States, until the voter registration practices are changed.

  3. The citizens should have the privilege of exercising their Constitutional rights
    1. to assemble,
    2. to petition,
      to freedom of the press,
    3. 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.

  4. We want the abolition of the House Unamerican Activities Committee because it deprives citizens of their Constitutional rights.

  5. 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.

LAW ENFORCEMENT

  1. 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.

  2. 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 for.

  3. 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.

  4. All cases against law enforcement agencies or involving civil rights should be tried in federal courts.

  5. 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.

CITY MAINTENANCE

  1. The city should finance paving and widening of the streets and installing of drain systems in them.

  2. Sidewalks must be placed along all streets.

  3. A better system of garbage disposal, including more frequent pickups, must be devised.

  4. Streets should be adequately lighted.

  5. We oppose nuclear testing in residential areas.

VOTING

  1. The poll tax must be eliminated.

  2. Writing and interpreting of the Constitution is to be eliminated.

  3. 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.

  4. We want guards posted at ballot boxes during counting of votes.

  5. The minimum age for voting should be lowered to 18 years.

  6. 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.

DIRECT ACTION

  1. To support Ruleville, we call for a state-wide school demonstration, urging teachers to vote, and asking for better, integrated schools.

  2. We support nonviolence, picketing and demonstrations.


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