On February 5, students across the country will join together for a virtual National Youth Summit on Freedom Summer and civic engagement. Civil rights activists, historians, and students will participate in a panel discussion about the 1964 youth-led effort to end the political disenfranchisement and educational inequality of African Americans in the Deep South, and discuss the role of young people in shaping America’s past and future. The webcast will be hosted from the Old Capitol Museum in Jackson, Mississippi; young people from across the country will participate in the Summit through an online chat. Participating students will be encouraged to think of themselves as makers of history and asked to consider their ability to be active and engaged citizens. Join us. For more information and to register: http://americanhistory.si.edu/nys/freedom-summer.
Dr. Robert Moses, director of the Mississippi Summer Project and founder of the Algebra Project.
Dr. Marshall Ganz, civil rights activist and Senior Lecturer in Public Policy at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
Dr. Michelle Deardorff, Professor and Department Head of Political Science at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Larry Rubin, former Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee staffer and labor activist
Noah Martin, high school student, McComb, Mississippi
More on Freedom Summer:
In the hot and deadly summer of 1964, the nation could not turn away from Mississippi. Over ten weeks known as Freedom Summer, more than 1000 activists, mostly young people, joined together to end the political disenfranchisement of African Americans and race-based inequity in education in Mississippi by organizing communities, registering black voters, and setting up schools. The summer was marked by deadly violence, including the notorious murders of three civil rights workers, but also courage, perseverance, and an unfettered belief that ordinary people could make great change.
If simple justice could be achieved in Mississippi just by young people organizing and volunteering for a summer, what did that suggest for the rest of the nation? Perhaps even more importantly, how would Freedom Summer affect the people involved in it? Taking on the daunting task of wading into nonviolent battle against unrestrained and brutal racial subjugation would forever change all who participated in Freedom Summer. Those experiences would be carried with Freedom Summer veterans and affect their work as the Civil Rights Movement continued, the conflict over the Vietnam War escalated, and as America struggled to decide what equality and democracy meant in the late 20th century.
The National Youth Summit on Freedom Summer is program is presented in partnership with Smithsonian Affiliations and PBS's American Experience with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Verizon Foundation.