Beginning in 1961 SNCC and CORE organizers undertook a dangerous campaign in Mississippi, attempting to register black voters despite intense white resistance. By 1962 Robert Moses, a black Harvard-educated schoolteacher, had assembled a staff of organizers to work with local residents. To bring attention, and perhaps some protection, to their efforts, the workers organized the Mississippi Summer Project, also known as the Freedom Summer project. They recruited and trained over 1000 Northern volunteers—including African American and white students. These volunteers helped people to register to vote and ran freedom schools providing basic education and African American history. Within the first two weeks, two whites, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, and one black, James Chaney, were murdered. Fear and danger followed the remaining volunteers that summer.
The Summer Project increased the number of black voters in Mississippi. It also led to the creation of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP), a political party open to all races. The MFDP unsuccessfully challenged the seating of an all-white Mississippi delegation at the Democratic national convention. However, voting registration efforts were helped by a series of marches to demand black voting rights in Selma, Alabama, in 1965. The protests and the violence that accompanied them prompted President Lyndon B. Johnson to introduce new voting-rights legislation. Passed that summer, its impact was dramatic: in Mississippi, the percentage of blacks registered to vote increased from 7 percent in 1964 to 59 percent in 1968.
- African American History: Differing Racial Perceptions (egrejeen.wordpress.com)
- African American History: The Reagan Years (egrejeen.wordpress.com)
- African American History: Erosion of Black Rights (egrejeen.wordpress.com)
- African American History: American Revolution (The Concentration of Slavery in the South) (egrejeen.wordpress.com)
- African American History: Conservative Backlash (egrejeen.wordpress.com)