Freedom Now: The Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi traces the history of the black freedom struggle from Reconstruction through the 1960s. Readings and activities focus on the grass-roots movement to achieve civil rights for African Americans.

Videos for Readings: The videos below follow the outline of the printed curriculum unit. The headings correspond to the headings in the student readings.

Videos for Lessons accompany lessons in the teacher's guide of the printed curriculum unit.

Scholars Online: Videos for Readings

Freedom Now: The Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi

Charles E. Cobb, Jr.
Brown University

Françoise Hamlin
Brown University

John Lewis
John Lewis
U.S. House of Representatives (D-GA)

Judy Richardson
Judy Richardson
Brown University

Ekwueme Michael Thelwell
Brown University

Michael Vorenberg Brown University

Introduction: The Struggle for Freedom

What was the civil rights movement? [Charles E. Cobb, Jr. - 4:07]

Part I: The Meaning of Freedom

The Civil War and Reconstruction

Was the American Civil War a war over slavery? [Michael Vorenberg - 1:53]

What role did black slaves play in the American Civil War? [Michael Vorenberg - 3:12]

What was the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution? [Michael Vorenberg - 1:29]

What were the limitations of the Thirteenth Amendment? [Michael Vorenberg - 2:25]

Why did the federal government “reconstruct” the South? [Michael Vorenberg - 2:39]

How did Reconstruction transform black life in the South? [Michael Vorenberg - 3:37]

How did whites in the South resist Reconstruction? [Michael Vorenberg - 3:46]

Why did the federal government eventually abandon Reconstruction? [Michael Vorenberg - 3:35]

Jim Crow Mississippi

In what ways was black life under Jim Crow similar to life under slavery? [Michael Vorenberg - 2:21]

What was life like for black people in the South under Jim Crow? [Françoise Hamlin - 1:56]

What was it like growing up in Alabama under Jim Crow? [Representative John Lewis - 1:55]

Living with Jim Crow

How did black Southerners resist Jim Crow? [Françoise Hamlin - 2:07]

Part II: The Freedom Movement

The Beginning of Change

Why did black activism begin to be more successful in the 1950s? [Françoise Hamlin - 3:11]

What were the Brown v. Board of Education cases? [Françoise Hamlin - 2:52]

How did white Southerners resist black activism? [Françoise Hamlin - 3:16]

Who was Emmett Till? [Françoise Hamlin - 1:58]

Why was the murder of Emmett Till important? [Françoise Hamlin - 1:55]

A New Kind of Movement

How and why did you first become involved in the civil rights movement? [Charles E. Cobb, Jr. - 2:13]

Who was Ella Baker? [Judy Richardson - 2:01]

How did SNCC differ from older black political organizations? [Charles E. Cobb, Jr. - 3:25]

How did the movement that arose in the 1960s differ from earlier black activism? [Françoise Hamlin - 2:50]

What role did women play in SNCC? [Judy Richardson - 2:03]

Why was SNCC an effective organization? [Ekwueme Michael Thelwell - 1:44]

The Student Movement Comes to Mississippi

What role did nonviolence play in the movement? [Charles E. Cobb, Jr. - 5:15]

What role did nonviolence play in the movement? [Representative John Lewis – 3:26]

What was it like to participate in the Freedom Rides? [Representative John Lewis – 4:29]

Why did SNCC decide to focus on voter registration in Mississippi? [Charles E. Cobb, Jr. - 6:04]

How did SNCC workers go about organizing small communities in Mississippi? [Charles E. Cobb, Jr. - 4:49]

What kind of hostility did you encounter in Mississippi? [Charles E. Cobb, Jr. - 4:27]

How did the use of violence by Southern whites change in the 1960s? [Charles E. Cobb, Jr. - 3:40]

How did black people in Mississippi live with the threat of violence? [Charles E. Cobb, Jr. - 2:37]

What was your daily work like in small communities in the South? [Judy Richardson - 3:03]

Were you ever afraid for your safety? [Judy Richardson - 3:39]

Mississippi Heats Up

What was the Mississippi Freedom Summer Project? [Representative John Lewis - 3:13]

Why did SNCC debate whether to bring white college students down for Freedom Summer? [Charles E. Cobb, Jr. - 5:07]

What did you discover about local communities in the Mississippi Delta? [Ekwueme Michael Thelwell - 2:34]

Why did you criticize the proposed civil rights legislation at the March on Washington? [Representative John Lewis - 2:15]

What were the freedom schools? [Charles E. Cobb, Jr. - 4:23]

1964: The Atlantic City Democratic National Convention

How and why was the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party formed? [Charles E. Cobb, Jr. - 6:22]

What was the MFDP challenge at the 1964 Democratic National Convention? [Charles E. Cobb, Jr. - 3:22]

Epilogue: The Struggle Continues

Why didn’t the MFDP accept the Democratic Party’s compromise? [Charles E. Cobb, Jr. - 4:08]

How did the MFDP challenge change American politics? [Charles E. Cobb, Jr. - 2:29]

The Voting Rights Act

How did the civil rights movement change in the late 1960s? [Françoise Hamlin - 3:37]

What caused SNCC to fall apart in your opinion? [Judy Richardson - 2:57]

What was black power? [Françoise Hamlin - 2:00]

Who was Stokely Carmichael? [Ekwueme Michael Thelwell - 1:51]

Civil Rights Today

What were the major accomplishments of the civil rights movement and what challenges remain? [Françoise Hamlin - 3:13]

What did the civil rights movement accomplish? [Representative John Lewis - 4:07]

How successful was the civil rights movement? [Ekwueme Michael Thelwell - 3:29]

How integrated is American society today? [Ekwueme Michael Thelwell - 1:20]