In this lesson students analyze what motivated students to join the movement and what their experiences were like as activists in SNCC.
How did black Mississippians resist white supremacy and claim their constitutional rights?
First edition. October 2012.
The civil rights movement was one of the most pivotal events in U.S. history. Today we think of the key leaders, mass demonstrations, and watershed legislation that have become synonymous with this movement. Often forgotten are the everyday people who were on the frontlines of the fight for justice and equality, working for change in their home communities. Freedom Now: The Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi explores the history of the civil rights movement at the local level as well as the national level. Mississippi was one of the most racially divided states in the South. It symbolized the oppression and violence of white supremacy, and the strong black movement that rose up in response.
Three readings explore the history of the struggle of African Americans for freedom. Part I of the reading identifies the historical roots of racial inequality and discrimination by exploring the end of slavery, Reconstruction, and the rise of Jim Crow. In Part II, students read about the movement that developed in Mississippi, and the ways in which national and local forces interacted at the grass-roots level. The readings conclude with an examination of the legacies of the civil rights movement.
Data Analysis: Separate, but Equal? Measuring Plessy v. Ferguson in MississippiStudents analyze historical data to compare education resources for white and black students in Mississippi.
The Anti-Lynching Campaign of Ida B. WellsStudents use primary sources to examine the work of an early civil rights activist.
Voices from MississippiStudents read primary sources about the experiences of female student activists in Mississippi.
Women's Experiences in SNCCStudents use primary sources to understand the experiences of SNCC organizers in Mississippi.
Singing for FreedomStudents analyze songs sung by the Freedom Riders in 1961 and consider their importance in the civil rights movement.
A Nonviolent Movement?Students use primary sources to assess popular perceptions of the civil rights movement and examine different perspectives on the role of violence.
Civil Rights and U.S. Public Schools TodayStudents review the role of two Supreme Court decisions: Plessy v. Ferguson and Brown v. Board of Education and consider arguments around the issue of school segregation.
Additional reference material for added context and support.
Cobb, Charles. On the Road to Freedom: A Guided Tour of the Civil Rights Trail (Chapel Hill, North Carolina: Algonquin Books, 2007) 388 pages.
Crespino, Joseph. In Search of Another Country: Mississippi and the Conservative Counterrevolution (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press) 360 pages.
Dittmer, John. Local People: Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi (Urbana and Chicago, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1995) 560 pages.
Holsaert, Faith S., and Noonan, Martha Prescod Norman, and Richardson, Judy, and Robinson, Betty Garman, and Young, Jean Smith, and Zellner, Dorothy M., eds. Hands on the Freedom Plow: Personal Accounts by Women in SNCC (Urbana, Chicago, and Springfield, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2010) 656 pages.
Payne, Charles M. I’ve Got the Light of Freedom: The Organizing Tradition and the Mississippi Freedom Struggle (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1997) 506 pages.