To Write in the Light of Freedom

To Write in the Light of Freedom: The Newspapers of the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Schools

William Sturkey
Jon N. Hale
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  • Book Info
    To Write in the Light of Freedom
    Book Description:

    Fifty years after Freedom Summer,To Write in the Light of Freedomoffers a glimpse into the hearts of the African American youths who attended the Mississippi Freedom Schools in 1964. One of the most successful initiatives of Freedom Summer, more than forty Freedom Schools opened doors to thousands of young African American students. Here they learned civics, politics, and history, curriculum that helped them instead of the degrading lessons supporting segregation and Jim Crow and sanctioned by White Citizen's Councils. Young people enhanced their self-esteem and gained a new outlook on the future. And at more than a dozen of these schools, students wrote, edited, printed and published their own newspapers. For more than five decades, the Mississippi Freedom Schools have served as powerful models of educational activism. Yet, little has been published that documents black Mississippi youths' responses to this profound experience.

    eISBN: 978-1-62674-090-7
    Subjects: History, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[vi])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [vii]-2)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. 3-46)

    The Mississippi Freedom Schools changed lives. They opened doors for students, creating exciting new possibilities for thousands of young black Mississippians who attended them during the summer of 1964. Those eager young pupils, longing for equality and freedom, lived in a society still dominated by the unjust Jim Crow racial order that affected everything in their environment from schools to Coca-Cola machines to graveyards. That unbending system followed black Mississippians like shadows, constantly reminding that society had deemed them inferior. Daily events such as going to the movies, buying ice cream, or playing a ball game were haunted by “Whites...

  4. Benton County Freedom Train
    (pp. 47-55)

    Now the civil rights bill has passed at last. You had better exercise your rights and exercise them fast, or the Negro will be in the same condition as he was in the past.

    At the beginning of March our father begins to break land. He has to break the land sometimes with tractors and mules. The men work hard all day long from seven o’clock until twelve o’clock when they stop for dinner; then back to the field at one o’clock until six o’clock, and come home and eat and go to bed. That’s how it is until they...

  5. Drew Freedom Fighter
    (pp. 57-61)

    In spite of 7 arrests during the mass meeting on Tuesday, June 14, the mass meeting on Wednesday night was even larger. The people seemed even more determined to work for their freedom. The police were not scaring the people of Drew any more. This was proved by what happened Wednesday night:

    The Wednesday meeting started on the outside of the Holly Grove Church. The question to start with is, why couldn’t it be held inside? The next question is, what made the deacons of the church decide that we couldn’t even meet outside their church? When the deacon said...

  6. The Freedom Carrier (Greenwood, MS)
    (pp. 62-67)

    Today all people who believe in freedom should join us for Freedom Day. Time and Time again we have tried to register for voting and Martha Lamb, the registrar for Leflore County, has turned Negroes away or has failed them. But we shall not let Martha discourage us. The more people she turns away, the more people must go to the courthouse.

    Today marks the fourth Freedom Day in Greenwood. During the first Freedom Day, the courthouse was picketed, but no arrests were made. However, the second Freedom Day a large number of people were arrested. The last Freedom Day...

  7. Hattiesburg Freedom Press
    (pp. 68-76)

    On August 6, Linda B., Victoria J., my sister Gwendolyn and I went canvassing. It was a great experience because we had never been canvassing before.

    We went to many houses. We are going to tell you about some very interesting things that happened.

    We went to a house on Ruby Street and this is what we said to the lady there:

    “Good evening. We are canvassing for the Mt. Zion Freedom School and we would like to know if you have ever been to Freedom School.”

    She said, “No! And I’m not going to Freedom School.”

    We asked her...

  8. Student Voice of True Light (Hattiesburg, MS)
    (pp. 77-102)

    There are lots of things I don’t like about Hattiesburg. One thing is the bus drivers, which have already been brought to light to the eyes of the people. Bus drivers, as Shirley White describes, are terrible. I have never had any of the incidents happen to me because when I was young I learned we were supposed to sit in the back part of the bus. I’m not going to sit in the back anymore.

    The one thing I don’t like is these Jim Crow restaurants. What I mean by that is these places where they allow no one...

  9. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  10. The Freedom News (Holly Springs, MS)
    (pp. 103-115)

    How do we as Negroes feel about the freedom workers coming into Mississippi is a question many are asking. After asking many of my friends and neighbors I have heard them say “It’s a miracle” or “at least our prayers are being answered.” To us this is one of the most wonderful things that has happened since we were actually freed from slavery. We know these people didn’t have to give up their precious time and come here to help us and we know that they are here because of love. Love not only for us, but also because they...

  11. Freedomʹs Journal (McComb, MS)
    (pp. 116-154)

    We are naming our newspaper Freedom’s Journal in honor of Reverend Richard Allen. He was editor of the first Negro newspaper and we are proud to borrow from him the name of that paper. We have in mind Allen’s plans to help solve the problem of slavery in America.

    We feel the need to continue the work done by this great man because: too long the public has been deceived by the aims of many American organizations; too long the things that rightfully belong to us are not given; too long others have done our speaking for us.

    It is...

  12. Freedom Star (Meridian, MS)
    (pp. 155-171)

    On the weekend of the 7–9 of August, Meridian Freedom School is to be the host for the convention of all the Freedom Schools across the state. Each of the schools will be sending approximately three delegates to find housing for 75 students and 25 coordinators. If you would be willing to put up one or two of the students in your home please call 402-1045.

    Details of the convention will be announced later; they are being worked out this weekend by delegates from the various schools at a meeting in Jackson.

    This Friday, July 14, Meridian will be...

  13. Freedom News (Palmerʹs Crossing, MS)
    (pp. 172-185)

    The MISSISSIPPI FREEDOM DEMOCRATIC PARTY is the party that represents all the people in Mississippi. You do not have to be a registered voter to belong to the MISSISSIPPI FREEDOM DEMOCRATIC PARTY. Anyone over 21 who wants to register and take part in the Mississippi government can belong to the FREEDOM DEMOCRATIC PARTY.

    THE FREEDOM DEMOCRATIC PARTY is having precinct monthly meetings this week. At these meetings delegates will be elected to county and state conventions.

    The regular Mississippi Democratic Party is also holding precinct meetings and electing delegates to its own county and state conventions. But these delegates do...

  14. Ruleville Freedom Fighter
    (pp. 186-199)

    Now—not tomorrow—but today. The Negro people have waited too long. Hundreds of years the Black Folk have been helping build America. Negroes have worked for almost nothing. Black folk have worked hard. But what have the Negro people gotten in return? Almost nothing. The Negro has been robbed of his share. He still works another man’s land. He still gets only 3 dollars a day. The boss-man makes most of the money and the Black Folk do most of the work. This causes a lot of suffering. Even the children cannot be given the opportunities they need. Year...

  15. Freedom Flame (Shaw, MS)
    (pp. 200-202)

    Shaw M.S.U. News

    The Shaw Mississippi Student Union is composed of about 75 members. The officers are: President—Aaron German; Vice President—Charles Bonds; Secretary—Mary Crawford; Assistant Secretary—Doris Brown.

    There are also four committees, each of these committes has a Chairman; Welfare Committee Chairman—Vinson Flakes; Program Committee—Rebecca Flakes; Action Committe—Ruby Richard; Membership Committee—Willie Crawford

    Hopefully we want to increase our membership. We had some members join our club on our last meeting night. We meet on every Monday night.

    We are progressing rapidly, and with the students’ cooperation we want to keep the movement...

  16. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 203-204)
  17. Notes
    (pp. 205-214)
  18. Index
    (pp. 215-220)