Mississippi Freedom Summer — 1964

We were in this auditorium, and they tell us: "Three people are missing." And the next day we all got on the bus to Mississippi. — Hardy Frye

[© Ted Polumbaum]

Chaney, Schwerner and Goodman

[UPI Photo]

"Your work is just beginning. If you go back home and sit down and take what these white men in Mississippi are doing to us. ...if you take it and don't do something about it. ...then God damn your souls."

 — Mississippi CORE leader Dave Dennis delivering the eulogy for James Chaney, murdered by cops and Klan in Philadelphia MS, 1964.

 

 

 

 

[© Tamio Wakayama]

 

Keep On Pushing...

[© Ed Hollander] [Photographer unknown]

[© Herbert Randal]

 

Hattiesburg activist Gracie Hawthorne in front of COFO headquarters.

[© Herbert Randall]

 

COFO office, Hattiesburg, MS. From left to right, volunteers Terri Shaw, Joyce Brown, Nancy Ellin, Sheila Michaels, unknown.

[© Bob Fletcher]
[© Frank Cieciorka]

 

"Freedom House," Holly Springs, MS.

After a cross is burned in front of a freedom house, it is turned into a freedom sign.
[© Tamio Wakayama]

[© Ellen Lake]

 

COFO office, Gulfport. Sam Walker and Lawrence Guyot on porch at left (others unidentified).

Meridian CORE/COFO/MFDP Office
[© Alan Reich]

[Photographer unknown]

 

George Smith beside a cross that was burned in front of the home of a local activist. Meridian, MS. 1964.

[Photographer unknown]

 

 

The Freedom House in Vicksburg is bombed.

[© Matt Herron]
Guarding the Freedom House at night.

[Collection of Frank Cieciorka]

 

Holly Springs, MS. Hardy Frye & Howard Jeffries standing next to our project's Plymouth with the SNCC logo that I had painted on the door. We had decided that we were not going to keep a low profile but rather make it clear who we were & what we were about. After about a week we got the word to get rid of it. The insurance company said it made too inviting a target & unless it was removed they would void our insurance. So we took it off. —  Frank Cieciorka.

 

Day after day, week after week, in sweltering heat the work continues...

[Photographer unknown] [Photographer unknown] [© Ted Polumbaum] [© Ted Polumbaum] [Photographer unknown] [© Ted Polumbaum] [© Herber Randal] [© Ted Polumbaum] [© Ted Polumbaum] [© Alan Reich]
[Photographer unknown]

 

Registering a new member of the Freedom Democratic Party.

[© Ted Polumbaum]

 

"Freedom Day" in Greenwood, MS.
111 arrested including organizer Monroe Sharp.

[© Ted Polumbaum]
[© Peter Cummings]

 

"Freedom Day" in Holly Springs MS. The paper pinned to my shirt says "Voter Registration Worker." Arrested & charged with "Carrying a placard." Five days in jail before getting out on bail.

 — Frank Cieciorka.

[Photographer unknown]

 

Counting MFDP "Freedom" ballots, Shaw MS. November, 1964. "MSU" (on the wall) is for Mississippi Student Union.

 

[© Herbert Randall]

 

We shall overcome, someday...

At the end of every mass-meeting we stand, link hands, and sing "We Shall Overcome" while swaying gently from side to side.

[Photographer unknown]

 

Freedom Schools

[© Ken Thompson]

"The atmosphere in the class is unbelievable. It is what every teacher dreams about — real, honest enthusiasm and desire to learn anything and everything. The girls come to class of their own free will. They respond to everything that is said. They are excited about learning. They drain me of everything that I have to offer so that I go home at night completely exhausted but very happy in spirit..."  — Pam Parker, Freedom School teacher.

[Photographer 
unknown]

[© Matt Herron]

[© Herbert Randall]

[© Herbert Randall]

[© Matt Herron]

 

Freedom School teacher Edith Black and class.

[Photographer unknown]

[Photographer unknown]

 

Society Hill Missionary Baptist Church, McComb MS.
Site of a Freedom School.
Bombed in retaliation.

 

Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP)
Challenge to the Democratic Party Convention

Atlantic City, August, 1964

[© Herbert Randall]

 

In preparation for the Challenge to the Democratic Party, the MFDP is built from the grassroots up with precinct, district, and state meetings such as this one in Palmers Crossing, MS, 1964.

[© Herbert Randall]

MFDP 5th Congressional District caucus. Local leaders (left to right) Marie Blalock, Peggy Jean Connor, Vassie Patton.

[© Herbert Randall]

 

The caucus completed, MFDP delegates, COFO staff, and Freedom Summer volunteers prepare for the Challenge in Atlantic City with high hopes and firm commitment.

MFDP state convention, Jackson.
[Photographer unknown]

 

Fannie Lou Hamer and Aaron Henry testify about the systematic denial of voting rights in Mississippi before the Credentials Committee at the Democratic National Party Convention in Atlantic City, 1964.
[© AP photo]
[Photographer unknown]
[© Matt Herron]

 

Atlantic City boardwalk, August 1964. Vigil in support of the MFDP challenge to the Democratic Convention.

[© AP photo]

[© George Ballis]

 

[© George Ballis]

Dr. King addressing MFDP rally outside convention hall.

 

Hattiesburg MFDP leader Victoria Gray (below).

[© George Elfie Ballis]

 

 

  Ella Baker inspiring MFDP supporters.

[Photographer unknown]

 

Bob Moses, Atlantic City, 1964.

[© George Ballis]

 

Fannie Lou Hamer singing at MFD boardwalk rally. From left — Emory Harris, Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture) in hat, Sam Block, Eleanor Holmes, Ella Baker.

[© George Elfie Ballis]


As far as I'm concerned, this was the turning point of the civil rights movement. I'm absolutely convinced of that. Until then, despite every setback and disappointment and obstacle we had faced over the years, the belief still prevailed that the system would work, the system would listen, the system would respond. Now, for the first time, we had made our way to the very center of the system. We had played by the rules, done everything we were supposed to do, had played the game exactly as required, had arrived at the doorstep and found the door slammed in our face.
 — John Lewis, Walking With the Wind.

MFDP delegates occupying the Mississippi seats, Democratic Convention, Atlantic City, 1964


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