Two-part radio documentary about the experiences of the Mississippi Freedom Summer Project of 1964, including interviews with civil rights activists and Mississippi residents on both sides of the debate about civil rights, segregation and voter registration. Part one begins with a discussion of the murder of three civil rights activists, Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner and James Chaney, near Philadelphia, Miss., and includes an interview with Schwerner's widow, Rita, an excerpt from a speech given at Chaney's memorial service, and interviews with local residents. The social conditions of Mississippi are explored through interviews with residents, who discuss the nature of racism in the South; the purpose of the White Citizens Councils; the use of derogatory racial language; the insularity of Mississippi and resentment of outsiders seen as "agitators," and the economy of plantations and tenant farmers, described by farmer Hartman Turnbow. In a section on violence in the civil rights conflict, Fannie Lou Hamer describes being beaten in a jail in Winona, Miss., and a volunteer from Wisconsin describes being beaten in a medical clinic. Conditions in the black community of Harmony, where some out-of-state activists stayed, are discussed. The second part of the documentary begins with a focus on cultural differences between white Mississippi residents and visiting activists, with comments from the mayor of McComb, Miss. A segment explores the boycott of white-owned stores in Greenwood, Miss., sponsored by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). The educational system in Mississippi, and the creation of Freedom Schools, is discussed, with recordings of a class in a Freedom School conducting a lesson on the Birmingham riots. The remainder of the program focuses on issues surrounding the registration of black voters and the efforts of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. Hartman Turnbow describes his attempt to register to vote, and the subsequent firebombing of his home. A teenage volunteer from out of state, Joe Harris, is recorded canvasing for the MFDP.
Statement of Responsibility:
prepared by Eleanor Fisher, Lloyd Chester, Barry Morgan; executive producer, Harry J. Boyle
2 sound discs (ca. 119 min.) :,digital ;,4 3/4 in.