A letter from one of the volunteers of the Freedom Summer movement to his parents outlines the dangers they face from bombings and assaults by Klan members. The parents would have been undoubtedly worried for the safety of their son and if they had not done so already, would be compelled to ask their congressman and other authorities for help.
This account of the bombing of the Vicksburg Freedom House, titled "Well...They Finally Got Us," shows the feelings of imminent danger held by Freedom Summer volunteers, whose training had warned them of such violent activity against the movement. #HistoryHarvest #MiamiUniversity #OxfordOhio #FreedomSummer
This page from the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee volunteers' information packet highlights the importance of the volunteers and the liabilities they would face in Mississippi. This was one of the first notices of the possible ridicule, incarceration, and physical harm that would warn the volunteers of the dangers of their endeavor. #HistoryHarvest #MiamiUniversity #OxfordOhio #FreedomSummer
"I share the concern expressed by their parents and others that the Federal government take all possible steps to assure their physical safety in this lawful endeavor." June 24, 1964 | Letter from New Jersey Senator Clifford P. Case to President Johnson advocating on behalf of parents for Federal support of Freedom Summer volunteers. #freedomsummer
One of the first letters parents of volunteers received, COFO requested support from any parents concerned about their child's safety. Without the protection of the federal government, parents are warned, volunteers faced grave dangers. Writing the President Johnson was one recommendation to parents.
SNCC members outline exactly what they wanted the parents of the volunteers to ask of their congressman and governors. SNCC wanted Federal Marshals and the FBI to help provide security for the volunteers and even hoped to get The President involved.
Another letter by SNCC that formed an Emergency Committee informing parents of volunteers that their protest was desperately needed in order to get the federal government involved in Mississippi. Working with parents they sent a telegram directly to the President expressing their outrage with the lack of government involvement in the protection of their kids.
"You'll be sorry." | An article from the "Hartford Times" describes the experiences of parents of local Hartford, Connecticut Mississippi Project volunteers. The anonymous phone calls ranged from dismissive to threatening.
Arrests were common among the Freedom Summer volunteers; it was almost a guaranteed outcome. SNCC guidelines about dealing with arrest, outlined in this memo, was important for volunteers. They needed to know their rights against police actions.
SNCC and other members of the Freedom Summer Project realized that parents could still play an important role back home. Asking them to get as many people as possible to write letters to their governor, Congressional representatives, committees and anyone else to inform them on what is happening in Mississippi.