Debra L Ferguson
Teachers visit the Leflore County Courthouse in Greenwood, Miss., site of a key voter registration drive in 1964.Southern Images
Debra L Ferguson, Southern Images
Wazir Peacock, a former Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee worker, left, talks with teachers Joseph Heitzman and Tim Garner outside the Greenwood Wesley United Methodist Church in Greenwood, Miss.
In the summer of 1964, more than 1,000 civil rights workers came to Mississippi to help register black voters. Buses of young people traveled highways and back roads at their own peril, to do the work of what was dubbed Freedom Summer.
Recalling Freedom SummerWazir Peacock, field secretary for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in Greenwood, Miss., in the 1960s, leads a bus tour of teachers to the Leflore County Courthouse in Greenwood, site of a key voter registration drive in 1964.Peacock leads the teachers in a freedom song on the bus.Peacock sings a farewell song from the freedom movement.Teachers join to sing one of Fannie Lou Hamer's favorite songs, 'This Little Light of Mine,' at her gravesite in Ruleville, Miss.Charles McLaurin, Hamer's campaign manager when she ran for Congress on the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party ticket, describes how Hamer became involved in the movement and how she qualified to run.
Now, 40 years later, a busload of teachers is riding Mississippi's highways, retracing the steps of the Freedom workers in the hope of bringing that history to life for a new generation of students. NPR's Debbie Elliott rode with them.
The teachers' tour was part of a Mississippi workshop that's a joint project of Jackson State University, Rhodes College in Memphis, and the Fannie Lou Hamer National Institute on Citizenship and Democracy.