In honor of Black History Month, all month long we will be sharing the legacies and stories of the heroes, sheroes, and events in the fight for Black suffrage on social media under the hashtag #VRABlackHistory. Follow us on Twitter (@VRAmatters) to share your own facts.
Today we honor the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer project. “In 1964, civil rights organizations including the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE) and Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) organized a voter registration drive, known as the Mississippi Summer Project, or Freedom Summer, aimed at dramatically increasing voter registration in Mississippi. The Freedom Summer, comprised of black Mississippians and more than 1,000 out-of-state, predominately white volunteers, faced constant abuse and harassment from Mississippi’s white population. The Ku Klux Klan, police and even state and local authorities carried out a systematic series of violent attacks; including arson, beatings, false arrest and the murder of at least three civil rights activists.”
"Americans all around the country were shocked by the killing of civil rights workers and the brutality they witnessed on their televisions. Freedom Summer raised the consciousness of millions of people to the plight of African-Americans and the need for change. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 passed Congress in part because lawmakers' constituents had been educated about these issues during Freedom Summer."