Monday, March 7, 2011

"Freedom Summer" author to speak at Pittsburg State University

Bruce Watson, author of the book Freedom Summer will speak at Pittsburg State University 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at room 109 at Grubbs Hall. The program is free:

“Civil rights is a huge topic in schools now, but what’s taught often begins with Rosa Parks and ends with Martin Luther King,” Watson said Wednesday in a telephone interview from his home in western Massachusetts. “I wanted to pay tribute to this turning point.”

More formally known as the Mississippi Summer Project, Freedom Summer was a campaign launched in June 1964 to register as many African American voters as possible in Mississippi, which at that time almost totally denied black persons the right to vote by charging them expensive poll taxes, forcing them to take especially difficult literacy tests and harassing would-be voters economically. Those who persisted in their efforts to exercise their right to vote often had their homes or farms burned, were beaten or lynched.

Volunteers were recruited on college campuses across the nation to go to Mississippi to work alongside the black Mississippians to help secure their rights. Over 1,000 out-of-state volunteers participated in Freedom Summer.

No comments: