Lessons from Freedom Summer

As the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer approaches, The Hechinger Report will look back at the violence surrounding the 1964 campaign to register blacks to vote in Mississippi and the murders of three civil rights workers. Change has been a long time coming; racial divisions and inequities still run deep. Yet there are many efforts underway to stem the achievement gap between black and white students and to make sure history does not repeat itself.

The Canton United Methodist choir sings a hymn at Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Philadelphia Miss. as part of a memorial service for civil rights workers slain in the town 50 years ago. (Photo: Kayleigh Skinner)

In anniversary ceremony, historic church is center for Freedom Summer lessons

Philadelphia, Miss.—David Goodman was a teenager in New York City when his brother Andrew and two young civil rights workers disappeared in this small town in Neshoba County. On Saturday,…

Former Mississippi Secretary of State Dick Molpus was just 14-years-old when the bodies of slain civil rights workers Andrew Goodman, Dick Chaney and Michael Schwerner were discovered in an earthen dam not far from where he grew up in Philadelphia, Miss. (photo courtesy of Dick Molpus)

Q & A with Dick Molpus: Anatomy of historic apology for hometown’s racist and violence past on eve of Freedom Summer anniversary

Mississippi’s former Democratic Secretary of State Dick Molpus, born and raised in Neshoba County, stood up 25 years ago at the Mount Zion Church in his hometown of…

Can the hundreds of education experts who flocked to Mississippi improve life for the state’s black boys?

JACKSON, Miss. – Like the billion locusts that emerge every 17 years to descend on the Northeast, sometimes the thing we call news has a remarkably simple basis: We cover…

Leslie McLemore

Q&A with Leslie B. McLemore, veteran Mississippi civil rights activist: Fifty years after Freedom Summer, ‘the struggle continues every day’

Leslie B. McLemore was just a teenager when he first became involved in the civil rights movement. A native of north Mississippi, McLemore attended Rust College in Holly Springs, Miss.…

Q & A with Jennifer Stollman: As Freedom Summer anniversary approaches, push is on for ‘cultural change’ in Mississippi

Jennifer Stollman, academic director of the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation in Oxford, is spending hours planning ways to share lessons about Freedom Summer, the 1964 civil…

Getting beyond ‘hatred and bitterness’ will improve education in Mississippi

JACKSON, Miss. — In a sun-dappled square at the top of a bluff, an unlikely group of politicians, civil rights veterans and educators gathered this week to commemorate some of the…

Q & A with Leroy Clemons: Nearly 50 years after Freedom Summer, education is key to change in Mississippi

Leroy Clemons, president of the Neshoba County branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), was only two years old when three civil-rights workers…