Freedom Summer changed history, shaped lives
What was Freedom Summer?
In the summer of 1964, thousands of civil rights activists went to Mississippi and other Southern states to help African Americans register to vote. At the time, only 6.7 percent of African Americans in Mississippi were registered to vote, the lowest rate in the country. Most of the activists were young white college students from the North.
Many suffered during that summer. Three young volunteers — James Earl Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael “Mickey” Schwerner — were murdered, churches, homes and businesses were burned. Activists were beaten by white mobs or police. At the same time, black and white Methodists and members of the Evangelical United Brethren Church were working alongside others to keep the efforts non-violent.
However, Freedom Summer left a positive legacy. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 passed in part because the country had been educated by Freedom Summer.
These are reflections written by people who were in Mississippi that summer or elsewhere in the world watching and praying. It also contains reflections from those too young to participate but who feel blessed and influenced by the struggles of their Christian brothers and sisters during that summer 50 years ago.
Civil Rights Act 50th Anniversary
Interpreter Magazine invited six people involved in the struggle for civil rights in the U.S. to share their memories and thoughts about civil rights now. More
Eyewitness to Selma: Faith Leaders’ Stand for Civil Rights
“Many people cannot understand the depth of patriotism of Martin King and other civil rights heroes and heroines." Pastor recalls historic effort for voting rights. View
Long-ago summer set course for many United Methodists
The more than 700 student volunteers who took part in Freedom Summer included United Methodists. Others were influenced by what they saw, heard, or read about in 1964. Read More
Civil Rights Movement ‘a galaxy away’
Freedom Summer did not affect young man as he was growing up in Dallas, but learning about it years later had a profound effect. Read More
Freedom Summer inspired ministry ‘from that day to this’
The Rev. Fred B. Morris was a missionary candidate when he traveled to the March on Washington and heard the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Read More
‘In Mississippi I learned what church is’
The Rev. George D. McClain remembers the 1964 Freedom Summer as beginning of his theological education. Read More
Freedom rings for happy summer scholars
Freedom Schools in 29 states are helping more than 11,500 children develop a love for reading and gain extra self-esteem. Read More
Freedom School leads to fulfillment of dream
A youthful Freedom School experience introduced a Dillard dean to Black History, a foreign language and photography. Read More
Living the legacy of Freedom Summer
United Methodists reflect on where they were during the summer of 1964 in Mississippi and the year in which the U.S. Civil Rights Act was signed. Read More
Where were you during the Freedom Summer of ‘64?
United Methodist News Service wants your reflections on that historic summer and the passage of the Civil Rights Act. Read More
Freedom Summer remains vision of hope
Retired Bishop C. Joseph Sprague attributes his time at Freedom Summer with shaping who he is today. Read More
Path to Civil Rights Act took sacrifice, faith
Icon and civil rights activist Edith Lee-Payne, a United Methodist, says the struggle to achieve the Civil Rights Act of 1964 should never be forgotten. Read More