Frances O'Brien (Fran)

COFO, 1964-65, Mississippi
Current Residence:
PO BOX 928
Frazier Park, CA 93225

Freedom Summer: Faith and Activism

In the spring of 1964 I was a very unlikely candidate for the Civil Rights Movement. I agreed with its goals, but had no intention of joining the struggle to achieve them. That was for smart people, not for me. Besides, I planned to be a teacher, not a politician.

At a United Campus Christian Fellowship conference I learned about Freedom Summer — and the need for leaders of music, drama, and recreation for young children. As one of my students was to say many years later, "There went THAT excuse!"

I worked in a community center in Vicksburg in 1964 and again in 1965. In 1967 I began teaching handicapped children in Bakersfield, CA. I found their struggle for acceptance by "normal" people very similarto the civil rights movement.

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