Fifty years ago, more than 700 mostly white students from across the country traveled to Mississippi to work with local African-Americans on the “Mississippi Summer Project.” Over a period of 10 weeks, they demanded civil rights for African-Americans and an end to white supremacy. The historic summer came to be known as Freedom Summer.
A new two-hour film captures the events of that historic summer of 1964 and premieres tonight on PBS’ American Experience.
Organized by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the massive exercise was aimed at drawing national attention to the violence and injustice prevalent in Mississippi. Compared with other southern states which had 50 to 70 percent registered African-American voters, less than seven percent of Mississippi’s African-Americans were allowed to exercise their right to vote. A year after the students protested in Mississippi — and three of them had been murdered working for the cause — Congress passed the Voting Rights Act.
The film is written, directed and produced by award-winning documentary filmmaker Stanley Nelson. Find out where to watch on your TV dial