In 1964, Freedom Schools are created throughout Mississippi as Freedom Summer volunteers, most of them northern college students, travel south to work with local civil rights workers to help educate black children and organize black voters.
Mississippi was a focal point in the struggle for civil rights in America, and Hattiesburg, home of the University of Southern Mississippi, had the largest and most successful Freedom Summer project in 1964. The civil rights materials collected at the university’s Civil Rights in Mississippi Digital Archive document a local history with national significance.
The University of Southern Mississippi Digital Collections
Fannie Lou Hamer (1917-1977) Civil rights and voting rights activist, organizer of Mississippi Freedom Summer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, speaker at the 1964 Democratic National Convention
Three bandaged activists:(left to right) Rabbi Arthur J. Lelyveld (Cleveland, Ohio), a minister with the Hattiesburg Ministers Project, and voter registration volunteers David Owen (Pasadena, California; a student at Oberlin College) and Lawrence Spears (Palo Alto, California; a student at Stanford University) on July 11, the day following their assault. They are standing in the 600 block of Mobile Street near Freedom Summer headquarters at 507 Mobile Street.
Reverend Jim Nance, canvassing, registering voters outside of Hattiesburg, MS during Freedom Summer in 1964. Photo by Herbert Randall. USM McCain Library and Archive. In the summer of 1964, COFO workers started wearing straw hats to distinguish them from SNCC and other volunteers in Mississippi during Freedom Summer.
Local teenaged African-American activist Gracie Hawthorne, who specialized in voter registration work, sits on the steps of project headquarters at 507 Mobile Street. �The bumper sticker affixed to the window behind her carries SNCC's Freedom Summer motto "One Man X One Vote"