Share

Current Events

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Blacks and Racial Equality, Beginnings of the Freedom Summer, Black History

The 1964 Freedom Summer was due in large part to the initiative and efforts of James Leonard Farmer, Jr., though many have not heard of his name. The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) leaders previously hired Farmer as its National Director in 1961. As the civil rights movement gained a foothold, Farmer’s immediate priority was to increase public awareness of the goals of CORE, an organization with its then current main presence in Northern states, through organizing a direct action campaign in the Southern states for fundraising and to garner public interest and support. As discussed in prior article, under his leadership, interracial volunteers began a bus trip through the South to test Supreme Court decisions prohibiting segregation in interstate transportation. These volunteers were known as the Freedom Riders.

The Beginnings of the Mississippi Summer Project, Freedom Summer

As the civil rights movement gained momentum, the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE) and the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) organized a voter registration drive to increase the the number of registered black voters in Mississippi. Volunteer Blacks were joined by over 700 predominately white volunteers to fight the pervasive voter intimidation and discrimination at the polling places. The Freedom Summer, or the Mississippi Summer Project, was locally run by Council of Federated Organizations (COFO). The Ku Klux Klan and certain persons in local and State of Mississippi law enforcement physically attacked the volunteers in their attempts to fight voter discrimination.

James Leonard Farmer, Jr., had previously recruited James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner as activists for CORE. Subsequently, civil rights groups worked with local activists on voter registration and education. James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner disappeared during the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer.

The first group of volunteers engaged in the Mississippi Summer Project was comprised of approximately 1,000 volunteers who began training at Western College for Women in Oxford, Ohio on June 14, 1964. Most of the volunteers were white northern middle-class and upper-middle class college students, who had no idea of the intensity of the violent maelstrom they were about to enter into.  The training was to prepare the volunteers to register black voters, teach literacy and civics at Freedom Schools.

This was the summer for the Democratic National Convention to be held in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The Mississippi Summer volunteers were to give more of a public face to the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party's (MFDP) taking a stand against the all-white Democratic delegation at that summer's Democratic National Convention.

Three civil rights workers, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, all initially recruited by James Farmer, were active in the Mississippi Summer Project, disappeared in Mississippi just one week after the first group of volunteers arrived in Oxford, Mississippi. James Chaney, a black Mississippian, and two white northerners, Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman, were reported as “missing” when they were in Philadelphia, Mississippi, to investigate the burning of a church. Freedom Summer staff and volunteers moved ahead with their campaign. Their fears were exacerbated; they were afraid but undeterred by the abrupt disappearance of the three civil rights workers. An FBI investigation supplemented by other law enforcement, found their murdered corpses buried in an earthen dam.

To increase black voter registration was the foundation of the Mississippi Summer Project. More than 90 percent of blacks who attempted to vote in Mississippi in 1964 were not allowed to do so.  Although approximately 17,000 black persons residing in Mississippi attempted to register to vote in the summer of 1964, only 1,600 of the completed applications were accepted by local registrars.

Television and newspaper coverage of severe beatings of the Freedom Summer volunteers, trumped-up arrest charges and even homicide of civil rights workers by the Ku Klux Klan and certain law enforcement officers, drew international attention to the civil rights movement. The increased public awareness via news coverage regarding the violence they encountered helped pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The efforts of the volunteers of the Freedom Summer to end black voter discrimination and public awareness of the violent resistance they encountered gave impetus to the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

There are thousands of unacclaimed black leaders in this century whose works have largely gone unrecognized. More coverage of the Freedom Summer to be discussed in the next article on Black History.

What You Can Do

I am an aggressive and compassionate employment law attorney who is experienced in successfully representing employees who were subjected to racial harassment and retaliation in private and public employment, including clients who were  subjected to extreme harassment and repeated use of the n-word by their boss.  I only represent employees and never represent employers. I have been successful in obtaining six figures monetary compensation for victims of racial employment discrimination.

If you have experienced racism at work, or if you reported it and no action was taken, if you are thinking of resigning, or think you will be fired, or have been fired, it is important that you consult with an attorney who is experienced in discrimination.

If you are being subjected to workplace discrimination, contact Hope A. Lang, Attorney at Law today for a free consultation.

Hope A. Lang, Attorney at Law serves clients throughout New Jersey, including Bergen, Middlesex, Essex, Hudson, Monmouth, Ocean, Union, Camden, Passaic, and Morris Counties with locations in southern, central, western and northern NJ to meet with clients.


Archived Posts

2020
2019
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2018
December
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2017
2016
December
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2015
2013
2012



© 2020 Hope A. Lang, Attorney at Law | Disclaimer
466 Kinderkamack Road , Oradell , NJ 07649
| Phone: 201-599-9600

Employment/Civil Rights Law | Disability Law | Employee Performance Evaluations | Family Law | Divorce Mediation Services | Wills and Estate Planning | School Law and Educational Rights | Municipal Court Appearances | General Practice | | Family Law | Employment Law | Testimonials

Attorney Website Design by
Zola Creative